How have Community Health Workers been incorporated into the COVID-19 response?

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Tessa Acker, Community Health Worker Liaison with the Utah Department of Health Covid Active Response Team (CART), and Cathy Wolfsfeld, Community Health Worker with Calvary Baptist Church and Surae on ABC4 Utah to talk about how they’re incorporating Community Health Workers into the COVID-19 response.

Cathy explains that Community Health Workers are leaders who help educate and empower their communities. They have become trusted members on the ground and often are from the communities where they work. They link their community members to resources, help them navigate systems, serve as a bridge between community and health systems and doctors. They also provide culturally appropriate care and support to their communities.

Community Health Workers understand their community barriers and needs COVID has hit racial and ethnic communities hard and exacerbated health disparities. Barriers include lack of education in other languages, being frontline/essential workers, lack of sick pay/child care, barriers to testing (hours, locations, cost, insurance), digital divide, multigenerational homes, and more.

They can utilize trust and knowledge of communities to connect and reach communities with important information and education, help promote testing, contact tracing, vaccines, etc and other ways to keep community members safe.

Community Health Workers are frontline workers who have been crucial to this response. They were eligible for the vaccine in the first wave of the vaccine, and are often working in communities that are hardest hit by the pandemic, delivering food, providing resources, educating, etc.

As trusted members of the communities, Community Health Workers can help get accurate information into communities and encourage their members to get vaccinated when eligible. They can also help them to navigate how to get vaccinated and break down barriers.

For additional information or to find out how you can contribute, you can visit their website.

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