New program will fight the spread of COVID-19 in Buffalo's most vulnerable zip codes

15 pastors. 10 zip codes. One goal.
Posted at 6:50 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:53:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The African American Health Equity Task Force has started The Social Determinant of Health Program. It's a 12 weeklong initiative funded by ECMC. 15 pastors will reach out to those in 10 of Buffalo’s most vulnerable zip codes to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The whole idea behind the project is that there are so many members of our community who have been asked to do things that are difficult if not impossible to do,” said Pastor Kinzer Pointer, the pastor at Agape Fellowship Baptist Church.

Things like social distance or buy two weeks’ worth of food. Members of the 15 churches will be calling people in 10 vulnerable zip codes through the voter registration data base. They'll also be knocking on doors.

Zip Codes:

  • 14201
  • 14203
  • 14204
  • 14208
  • 14209
  • 14211
  • 14213
  • 14215
  • 14218
  • 14305

The goal is to find out what they need.

“[The goal is] to help people shelter at home. to get clinical care if they need it, to help them get into primary care practices so that they can live a healthier life,” said Pastor Pointer.

If someone needs food, they will bring them food. If they need mental health care, it will be provided. If someone is sick, they'll be referred to the closest primary care doctor, ideally within walking distance of their home.

If the individual is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they will speak to a nurse. If it's determined that person needs a COVID -19 test, they'll be brought to a testing site. GBUAHN has vehicles dedicated to this purpose.

“If there's no transportation, we can bring them to the sites,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO of Urban Family Practice.

If they test positive, their new primary care doctor will begin contact tracing.

“We can begin to check the house to make sure no one else was infected. Then we can contain this. Almost like a quarantine of that house and then a clear,” said Dr. Vazquez.

The goal is to fight the coronavirus outbreaks among some of Buffalo's most vulnerable zip codes..

“If Jesus was walking the streets of Buffalo and he saw us engaged in this way, he would be pleased,” said Pastor Pointer.