Local health organizations partner to reach most vulnerable during coronavirus crisis

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ST. LOUIS – The Regional Health Commission, along with the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, have joined forces to conduct a unified communication and outreach campaign to reach the most vulnerable and underserved population during the coronavirus pandemic.

That campaign, PrepareSTL, will target people of color, who are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 compared to other Americans such as immigrants, low-to-moderate income households, and seniors living in St. Louis City and County.

“There are still people not taking this virus seriously and we want everyone to be prepared to handle it,” said Angela Fleming Brown, CEO of the Regional Health Commission. “We want them to understand what COVID-19 is, how to stop the spread, and how to survive the shutdown physically, emotionally, and economically.”

Central to the PrepareSTL campaign is a website with the latest information about COVID-19 and how to access resources such as food, utility assistance, and childcare. It also includes tips on how to cope with stress such as: getting active, limit news and social media, get at least seven hours of sleep, and outdoor activity.

“PrepareSTL provides the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County with a means to reach all segments of our community with COVID-19 messaging, especially those who do not have internet access and those who do not rely on traditional media,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of health for the City of St. Louis.

PrepareSTL kicks off Thursday, April 9 with a local advertising campaign that includes television, radio, online, streaming apps and digital marketing, as well as social media. Campaign materials are also being translated into various languages to reach immigrants and new Americans.

Part of the PrepareSTL campaign also includes community canvassing and mobile outreach led by the St. Louis Integrated Health Network, STL Community Health Worker Coalition, Alive and Well Communities, STL Mental Health Board and Emerging Wisdom.

Canvassers, outfitted in personal protection equipment, will be going to high visibility community hotspots such as grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, laundromats, and check cashing businesses. They will be placing posters, sandwich boards, and flyers at these locations. Zipcodes with the highest poverty rates have been selected for the community canvassing. Many are in north St. Louis City and County, including the zipcodes 63106, 63107, 63115, and 63120 in the city, and 63136 in the county.

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