News

State’s top health official: Pervasive injustices must be addressed

State Health and Human Service Secretary Mandy Cohen

State Health and Human Service Secretary Mandy Cohen took a brief departure from her coronavirus briefing Monday to invoke the name of George Floyd.

“I can’t say anything else, without first saying his name. George Floyd is now one of far too many who have lost their lives,” explained Cohen.

“Pervasive injustices have been hardened into our system over centuries. Too often people of color pay for these longstanding inequities with their lives.”

Dr. Cohen acknowledged that structural racism has resulted in poor outcomes in educational attainment, criminal justice and health for many minorities.

While African Americans make up 22 percent of the state’s population, they account for 34 percent of the state’s COVID-19 fatalities.

Sec. Cohen said Monday she supports the need to peacefully protest. She also pledged to use her place of privilege to do better in addressing social and health disparities.

The department is prioritizing working with minority-owned businesses or vendors who retain a diverse workforce as it looks to build on its testing capacity and contact tracing.

“We want those partners to focus on their testing and tracing work in historically-marginalized communities.”

As of Monday afternoon, North Carolina had recorded 29,262 cases of COVID-19 and 898 deaths. African Americans represent 293 of those deaths.

Click below to hear an excerpt of Sec. Cohen’s remarks.

 

Check Also

COVID hospitalizations surpass 1,000, NC governor pledges a decision next week on reopening schools

It’s a threshold state health officials were likely ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis backs legislation that would declare a widespread class of toxic [...]

Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, was scheduled to be executed today at the Federal Correctional Institute in Te [...]

NC State evaluators warn, however, of basic problems in the program's structure Buoyed by a fav [...]

Julia Pimentel Gudiel came to North Carolina from Guatemala for her children. While her four kids st [...]

Nation’s failed response to the pandemic leaves state and local officials in an almost impossible si [...]

The post The GOP’s Back-in-Class or Bust express appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

CHAPEL HILL – Several of my White friends and colleagues have asked me recently what changes are req [...]

For the past month, there has been much said about the current racial climate in America. The eyes o [...]