Health Department and Partners Work to Address Health Disparities

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LCHD 2017



For Immediate Release
Date: June 26, 2020
News/Media Email:
Media Phone: 847-377-2001
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Health Department and Partners Work to Address Health Disparities

Lake County, Ill. — The Lake County Health Department continues to work alongside community partners to address higher rates of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) infections occurring in Lake County's African American and Latino communities.

As of June 25, when accounting for the differences in age between populations, for every one white non-Hispanic person who has contracted COVID-19 in Lake County, four African American non-Hispanic and nine Hispanic people have contracted the disease.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing health disparities," said Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister. "We continue to work closely with our community partners on immediate interventions to help our hardest-hit communities, and to develop long-term strategies that will address the root causes of these disparities."

Age-adjusted rates June 25

Two recently-formed coalitions in Lake County, co-chaired by community leaders and Health Department staff, are working to tackle these issues to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in African American and Latino communities. 

The African American Community Partnership Group (AACPG) collectively works to eradicate disparities among under-served African American Lake County residents through advocacy, education, and social justice. The group is a collaborative effort between community members, organizations, and the Health Department.

"We attribute the long-term poorer health outcomes in our communities of color to a number of issues, including socioeconomic factors such as unemployment and underemployment, inequities in education, unequal access to quality health care, gaps in health insurance, and institutionalized biases," said Gale Graves, Interim Assistant Director at the Waukegan Public Library and Co-Chair for AACPG. "Education across the board to providers, insurers, and community members will begin to dismantle these barriers and inequities."

The Asociación Comunitaria Latina (ACL) is a collaboration of Latino community-based organizations and community leaders who are committed to addressing inequities that have existed long before COVID-19 and to lowering the rate of infection in the Hispanic community.

“The Latino community has been truly devastated by this pandemic," said Dulce Ortiz, Executive Director at Mano a Mano Family Resource Center and Co-Chair for ACL. "Our families don’t have the privilege of working from home. They are either forced to work and risk getting infected or are unemployed with no safety net and inadequate resources. Our group is working to bring about solutions, making sure resources are allocated to our Black and Brown communities which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

For more information on the AACPG, please contact co-chairs Gale Graves at, Demetrius Willis at, or visit  For more information on the ACL, please contact co-chairs Dulce Ortiz at, Edna Pompilus at, or visit


Additional Information:

The Health Department reported Lake County’s first COVID-19 case on March 11, 2020. As of June 26, 2020, 9,561 Lake County residents have tested positive for the disease, including 382 deaths. For more details, please visit the Coronavirus Data Hub, which is updated daily Mondays through Fridays at Recent additions to the hub include Lake County's recovery rate and the prevalence of underlying health conditions among cases and deaths.

Visit the Health Department’s Coronavirus web page,, for updates, testing information, community guidance and resources, answers to frequently asked questions, and to sign up for the Health Department’s weekly COVID-19 newsletter. General questions can be sent via email to

For trusted information on the COVID-19 pandemic from reputable state and federal sources, visit the State of IllinoisIllinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

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Lake County Health Department
3010 Grand Avenue
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
(847) 377-8000