SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As COVID-19 continues to impact our state, state officials announce the formation of a new branch of Utah’s community task force.
During Thursday’s press conference Governor Gary Herbert said the Multicultural Task Force is meant to help those underrepresented in the Beehive State.
“The data we have right now from our health department would indicate there’s a higher rate of infection amongst our Hispanic, Latinos, and also our pacific islanders,” Herbert said. “And so, we want to see what we can do to remedy that situation.”
Herbert also said some of the limitations in communication efforts fall short due to some language and cultural barriers.
While he said COVID-19 resources are currently transcribed in more than 14 languages, he said he wants to provide all Utahns with the necessary information.
“It’s not for lack of trying or for lack of effort, it’s as we’ve had new information come in, we see ‘Ah, we have a leak in the boat so, let’s patch that up and move forward,’” Herbert said.
To help combat the spread within these communities, officials created the Multicultural Task Force in an effort to provide basic needs and to spread information to the underrepresented populations in their native language.
“While the COVID-19 virus can infect anyone regardless of nationality, income, or creed, data is showing greater impact on minority or low-income communities,” said Byron Russell, a Utah Multicultural Commission co-chair.
Russell and Herbert said this task force has been in the works for some time, however, as COVID-19 creates unique circumstances for the state, they said it’s taken some time to find out the most effective way to deliver information.
“And so, this announcement is the culmination of making sure that we have the right people in mind,” Russell said.
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