PROVIDENCE, RI (August 3, 2020) On Monday, August 3, ONE Neighborhood Builders announced its launch of Central Providence Conquers COVID-19.

While the pandemic has affected all peoples and places, certain ZIP codes have been disproportionately impacted due to the social and economic conditions of their residents. The purpose of Central Providence Conquers COVID-19 is to reduce the imbalance of cases in these areas, many of which are high density communities of color. In order to address this disparity, ONE Neighborhood Builders is convening rapid response efforts across all Central Providence neighborhoods in ZIP codes 02904, 02908, and 02909 (Olneyville, Hartford, Federal Hill, Valley, Charles, Wanskuck, Smith Hill, Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, and Silver Lake).

In collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Central Providence Health Equity Zone, Central Providence Conquers COVID-19 will prioritize three strategies:

  1. Increase testing in ZIP codes with highest rates of infection.
  2. Increase effectiveness of contact tracing in these ZIP codes.
  3. Ensure that quarantined individuals in these ZIP codes have access to basic needs and support.

Laurie Moise, Director of Community Health Integration for ONE Neighborhood Builders stated: “The Central Providence Health Equity Zone serves as the on-the-ground eyes and ears for the Rhode Island Department of Health and offers texture as to why a certain hot-spot exists, what elements of a communications strategy are most effective, or where a testing location may be needed.”

The communities in 02908 and 02909 have been exceptionally hard hit by COVID-19; in fact, these two ZIP codes report the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the entire state. Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders reflected: “This is unfortunately not surprising. Due to high-rent relative to low-wages, many residents are forced to live in overcrowded housing which results in the inability to safely quarantine; low-income residents are often fulfilling essential worker positions that do not allow them to work from home, and/or do not offer adequate paid sick time; and we know that if a person has chronic disease, they have a higher risk of suffering a severe case of an infectious disease, and our neighborhoods have high rates of hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.”

Central Providence Conquers COVID-19 has a team of 11 Community Health Workers who conduct a Social Determinant of Health screening and based on results, connect residents with resources including information on testing sites, contact tracing, food pantries, unemployment benefits, and more. Community Health Workers are also delivering masks and food to families who are facing food insecurity.

The Central Providence Health Equity Zone is a multi-disciplinary collaborative convened by ONE Neighborhood Builders. Across the state, HEZs, which Governor Gina Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, director of RIDOH, frequently highlight in their daily COVID-19 press briefings, have proven to be highly effective neighborhood partnerships. HEZs were created by RIDOH in 2015 to address the root causes of health disparities—which have long existed but are more evident during this pandemic than ever before. The Central Providence Health Equity Zone works to remove obstacles to health, such as poverty, discrimination, racism, and their consequences, including insufficient access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education, and affordable housing.

For additional information please read “Taking aim at coronavirus in 10 Providence neighborhoods” published by the Providence Journal and written by Madeleine List

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