Gov. Tom Wolf addresses a deeper problem in basic wages when asked a question about cutting the federal $600 job loss stimulus. Wolf visited Pennsylvania CareerLink in York

York Daily Record

Gov. Tom Wolf will be in York Thursday afternoon to release the findings of a five-month investigation into COVID-19-related health disparities among Pennsylvania’s minority and vulnerable populations.

Wolf will share the results during a 1 p.m. press conference at the York County YMCA. He will be joined by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Second Lady Gisele Fetterman.

During the event, they will issue recommendations the state can take to reduce health disparities and dismantle systemic racism.

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Gov. Tom Wolf gives an update on Pennsylvania’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the new coronavirus. (Photo: Commonwealth Media Services)

The COVID-19 Response Task Force, led by Fetterman, was formed in mid-April to address growing concerns about how the coronavirus was disproportionately affecting minorities and adding to existing health disparities.

At the time, the state was tracking outbreaks in vulnerable communities, “including ones where people do not speak English,” Wolf said on April 15. 

For example, Latinos in York represent 33 percent of the city’s population but made up 72 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in April, according to the York Daily Record. 

More: Latinos in York City infected with COVID-19 at higher rate than others: 71.6% of cases

The state started working to improve its data collection to get a better understanding of how the virus was affecting different groups of people, he said. 

In the past five months, the task force has held weekly meetings to gather information and reached out to leaders in minority communities, collecting feedback and ideas on how to handle health disparities. 

The task force gave recommendations to the governor on how to address short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic in Pennsylvania’s minority communities. 

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Lt. Gov. John Fetterman led the task force that examined covid-related health disparities among minorities. (Photo: Cameron Clark, York Daily Record)

“It’s unconscionable for Black, Hispanic, and Asian-Pacific Pennsylvanians to be hit harder by this pandemic, which has highlighted the systemwide inequity that already existed in these communities,” Fetterman said when the task force was created. 

The state Department of Health releases daily coronavirus statistics, but data on race has been largely unavailable. 

Levine said in April that about 70 percent of the data sent by medical providers to the state was missing vital race information. The state health department sent a reminder to hospitals and other providers that it was mandatory to report race data.

As of Thursday, the majority of reported COVID-19 cases still had no race or ethnicity data. 

Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.

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