Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data title=
Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors Meeting
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officials report on the new health equity metric added to county data during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Public Health Director (PHD) Van Do-Reynoso explained this new metric developed by the state began today with the goal to reduce and possibly eliminate disparities in the levels of COVID-19 transmission among county residents. The count will need to meet an equity metric and/or demonstrate targeted investments to eliminate disparities in levels of transmission. 

"It has been clearly documented that certain communities - low-income, Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, and essential workers – have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in terms of higher rates of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths. These disparities create a public health imperative to address exposure in all communities, including especially those disproportionately impacted, as a measure to protect all communities," according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

The Blueprint for a Safer Economy measures county's COVID-19 case rate and test positivity to determine when a county can move to a less restrictive tier. Most counties have significant differences in test positivity among more and less advantaged neighborhoods, with these differences often also overlapping with race and the likelihood of employment as essential workers, according to CDPH.

The Equity Metric will "ensure that the test positivity rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods, as defined as being in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index census tracts, do not significantly lag behind its overall county test positivity rate."

For Santa Barbara County this will include sections of Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Isla Vista, east and westside areas of Santa Barbara, and unincorporated north county areas.

PHD must also submit a plan defines its disproportionately impacted populations, specifies the percent of its COVID-19 cases in these populations, and shows that it plans to invest Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases grant funds at least at that percentage to interrupt disease transmission in these populations.

The targeted investments can include spending on augmenting testing, disease investigation, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine support, and education and outreach efforts for workers. This plan must be submitted to CDPH by October 13. 

Do-Reynoso stated that while it's possible for a county to move back to a more restrictive tier due to case rates and testing positivity, the health equity metric will not be included in moving backward.

The county has collaborated with 93 cross-sectional partners to develop and share educational resources, programs, and outreach services to reach these vulnerable communities.

The full report can be viewed here

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dukemunson Oct 06, 2020 02:44 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

So, if I’m reading this correctly, we’re going to make the numbers of Lompoc and Santa Maria MORE PF A FACTOR for SB????? I can see it within the city limits, but not only including Santa Maria and Lompoc in our numbers But now magnifying their numbers is insane!!!

Voice of Reason Oct 06, 2020 03:00 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

Not more of a factor THE ONLY FACTOR. The bottom quarter as determined by the "Healthy Places Index" (HPI) will be the driver for the entire county. Even if there is no covid in the rest of the county, and total county numbers meet the metrics for the next tier, unless these targeted areas meet the metrics on their own, the entire county will not progress. I encourage you all to read about what makes up the HPI score - nothing to do with covid related health and safety. A sampling of the HPI components:

Tree Canopy: This indicator measures the percentage of land with tree canopy (weighted by number of people per acre).

Ozone: This indicator measures the average amount of ozone (often called smog) in the air during the most polluted 8 hours of summer days.

Retail Density: This indicator measures the number of retail, entertainment, and education jobs per acre

Park Access: This indicator measures the percentage of the population living within a half-mile of a park, beach, or open space that is larger than 1 acre.

Alcohol Availability: This indicator measures the percentage of people who live more than a quarter mile from a store that sells alcohol.

25 in all that have nothing to do with covid but are now determining factors in when our businesses and schools will be allowed to open. Please let your county supervisor know that the State of CA has gone too far! read more here: https://healthyplacesindex.org/about/

sandy1 Oct 06, 2020 05:39 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

From the California Department of Public Health website: For a county with a population of greater than 106,000, the county must: Equity Metric. Ensure that the test positivity rates in its most disadvantaged neighborhoods, as defined as being in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index census tracts, do not significantly lag behind its overall county test positivity rate, as described in detail below. Targeted Investments. Submit a plan that (1) defines its disproportionately impacted populations, (2) specifies the percent of its COVID-19 cases in these populations, and (3) shows that it plans to invest Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (Strategy 5: Use Laboratory Data to Enhance Investigation, Response, and Prevention) grant funds at least at that percentage to interrupt disease transmission in these populations. The targeted investments can include spending on augmenting testing, disease investigation, contact tracing, isolation/quarantine support, and education and outreach efforts for workers. Effective for the October 13th tier assignment, this plan must be submitted before a county may progress to a less restrictive tier. Due to data limitations in small populations, the equity metric described above cannot be reliably applied to smaller counties, as described below. Is this what Newsom’s reopening task force has been working on? Critical Race Theory disguised as pandemic response? Unbelievable .

a-1602031550 Oct 06, 2020 05:45 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

Well that's one kooky way to read this. I suppose if only internet comment trolls were contracting COVID and a task force was created to help them you'd feel differently?

Voice of Reason Oct 07, 2020 08:51 AM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

It also completely ignores that these metrics are going to always show much lower results for agriculture areas. Farms take up a lot of land so there will always be less trees, parks, retail, liquor stores, bus stops, etc. per acre than a city or town.

Byzantium Oct 06, 2020 05:51 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

No, just no. This is extortion - just like the stunt the LA teachers union pulled that kept from opening LA schools.
If Newsom wants this tree canopy equity program for this state, then run it through the legislature as a separate program to be subjected to the voters who choose their representatives who might support this level of micromanaging. But to hold the entire state hostage for this social engineering fantasies, and coincidentally providing publicity his wife's new book on the same topic, exceeds all emergency executive powers. This is an illegal quid pro quo over reach. Hasta la vista, Newsom and the horses you rode in on too.

a-1602034417 Oct 06, 2020 06:33 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

The presentation to the supervisors did not cite the calculation for the Equity Metric. Without seeing that it’s impossible to judge whether anything useful is being done. It also was not clear exactly how Public Health will implement the policy. For example are they going to give more covid tests to disadvantaged areas? Or will they give fewer covid tests to non-disadvantaged areas? Or are they just going to fiddle with the numbers?

mtndriver Oct 06, 2020 07:13 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

Looks like a lot of commenters ignored this sentence: "Do-Reynoso stated that while it's possible for a county to move back to a more restrictive tier due to case rates and testing positivity, the health equity metric will not be included in moving backward." So it's not part of the computation of which "tier" we are in. It's more a way of shaming those counties, like ours, that have big disparities between relatively affluent and relatively poor populations, into trying to lower the rates of infection in areas where the poorest people--those most likely to be living and working in situations that expose them to the virus--live. That just plain makes sense. Making health better for everyone includes making each of us safer.

Basicinfo805 Oct 06, 2020 08:00 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

So we'll never get out of this then mtndriver. You do realize that? You're ok w that, it sounds like. A lot of people aren't. Economic and educational shutdown will only further the socioeconomic divide he and the armies of beaurecrats in California - Sacramento, school districts, teachers unions, etc. - are trying so hard to close. Thanks newsome. Nice job.
#neveragainvotingdemocrat

dukemunson Oct 06, 2020 08:00 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

You certainly went “glass half full” with that interpretation. Yes, they stated it wouldn’t be applied to moving “backwards” in tiers... but how could you possibly read that and not see/infer that it will be factored into how we progress into lower tiers from here? I hope nothing but the best for Lompoc, Santa Maria, Stockton, San Bernardino and every other city... but magnifying their results to determine what SB is allowed to do is insane. Read the article again mtndriver... it’s a bummer that just doesn’t make any sense...

Voice of Reason Oct 07, 2020 08:47 AM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

You don't have to infer, it clearly states these areas will be the only factors that will dictate if the entire county moves forward. Which makes perfect sense for our state completely backwards approach to covid. Should we isolate the elderly and at-risk? No let's isolate everyone and ignore the consequences. Should we focus our resources at helping these less advantaged communities? No, let's hold the advantaged communities back so everyone can suffer. What happened to communities taking care of themselves? Blanket mandates for a state as diverse as ours is crazy. Let those than can get back out and work so we can support those that can't. Let our communities take care of each other rather than relying on a bureaucrats in Sacramento to tell us what's safe or not here in Santa Barbara.

USA in ruins Oct 06, 2020 09:55 PM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

There's some understanding required here. Low income, minority neighborhoods are not interested in wearing a mask. And no one is going to make it happen.

DebDeb Oct 07, 2020 04:50 AM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

How insulting for the county Public Health Dept and other officials to keep trying to push the idea that the word about safeguards to protect against COVID 19 is somehow not reaching certain community members because of their race and/or income. They act like people are too stupid to know better. They are not stupid at all. Everyone knows but some have chosen not to follow the rules because (like a lot of other rules) there is no enforcement. I think it's racist to keep acting like certain neighbors in our community are ignorant. They are not.

haskelslocal Oct 07, 2020 09:56 AM
Health Equity Metric Added to COVID-19 Data

It's a chess game. Those in control of the board will continuously find ways to place impediments and pawns such that it's more difficult to get to their King. The more layered the rules, laws and mandates the less likely the king (ideal) gets captured. Crying out for the love of the "rook" or why it needs to be protected is a compassionate ploy, yet it's entirely irrelevant to their game. What seems like an offering for blended, socially equitable balance, is actually only the creation of a wider gap in the between the haves and have not's. Fewer people will have more. More people will have less. So they sell equilibrium while in fact they inflate secular wealth and disparity. The wealthy only become richer and more condensed under this scheme. We humans do not actually live in this game they're playing. We have compassion, understanding, thoughtfulness, etc. We can understand that 10 people living in a flat is different then 2 people living on an acre. But like every good sales pitch we've ever fallen sucker for, those "in charge" simply target emotional biases to find ways to get the people to buy what they're selling.

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