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Virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19 impact on African American community

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 28, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of African Americans dying due to COVID-19 is on the rise.

On Tuesday, Mayo Clinic is holding a virtual town hall to address the issue.

Members of the community and physicians are encouraged to join in on the discussion.

In cities like Chicago and St. Louis, the CDC says members of the African American community are dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates.

"African Americans have a high rate for underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease," Dr. Brittane Parker, with Mayo Clinic, said. "There are other factors such as lack of access to health care, poverty and a lot of people of color are essential workers."

Data shows in Arizona, about 3 percent of Arizona's population is African American and about 3% have died from the virus.

But Dr. Parker says the numbers might not show the whole story.

"Only about 40% of all the positive cases reported have race attached to them," she said. "So we don't have that information. It may be more than what is currently reported and that is one of our concerns."

Dr. Edmond Baker, Medical Director of Equality Health, says the state only started tracking race about two weeks ago. He says knowing that information is critical.

"Because if there is something that stands out, we need to know as a medical community so that we can look for solutions," he said.

Both doctors will be speaking at Tuesday's virtual town hall, along with other health care leaders in Arizona. Participants will get an update on COVID-19 in the state, learn about its direct impact on the community and get feedback on what is needed to treat all minorities during this pandemic.

There are two sessions, one starting at 12:00 and another at 6 p.m. Click here for information on how to sign up.