Communities of color and low-income populations in Los Angeles County face disproportionate disadvantages to achieving optimum health and experience stark health inequities in their neighborhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these inequities, disproportionately impacting communities of color throughout Los Angeles County. The environmental, social, and economic factors that impact low-income residents and communities of color present unique challenges to obtaining access to medical and social resources. Over the course of the pandemic, Health Services recognized the need to increase COVID-19 testing, communications, and linkages to medical and social resources in an effort to reduce the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 among these high-risk, highly impacted populations. Through the COVID-19 Testing Equity Collaborative of the Health Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) developed place-based solutions to place-based problems, which have had a demonstrated positive impact at the community level. The Health Services COVID-19 Testing Equity Collaborative continues to increase equitable access to COVID-19 information through community-driven awareness and engagement campaigns, diagnostic testing services, and linkages to medical and social services to decrease the transmission of the virus in Los Angeles County.
The Health Services COVID-19 Testing Equity Collaborative, along with multi-disciplinary partners including DPH and community-based partners, used data on case rates and COVID-19 percent positivity to place test sites within the highest risk communities. The program sought to address this need by prioritizing approximately fifty (50) communities/neighborhoods of color in Los Angeles County and identified almost twenty (20) target populations for direct investment in community, communications, and medical infrastructure to more equitably address the issues and needs in these highly impacted communities.
The multiprong effort resulted in an investment in the sustainability of trusted community partners including some that had never received County funding, Expansion of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Communication that allowed accurate information to be conveyed in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways and Testing Access Equity throughout high risk communities. The COVID-19 Testing Equity Collaborative ensures that new testing sites and resources are placed in our most diverse and mostly deeply impacted communities.