During his Monday afternoon press briefing, Governor Mike DeWine said the state has formed a new task force, called the Minority Health Strike Force, in response to emerging statistics that suggest the COVID-19 virus is disproportionately affecting African Americans in Ohio.
"We have a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 virus on African Americans in the state of Ohio," said DeWine. "That's true across the country as well."
He said the data the state has on the racial breakdown of patients infected by COVID-19 is not yet complete, but that early data shows the African American community makes up 21% of COVID-19 patients across the state.
"That certainly is disproportionate to the African American population in the state of Ohio, which is somewhere between 13% and 14%," said DeWine. He also said it's more likely that, as additional data comes in, the number of cases affecting the African American community in Ohio is likely to be far higher than the 21% indicated so far.
DeWine said, in an effort to "do everything we can to protect all Ohioans from this pandemic," the Minority Health Strike Force has been formed.
The group is currently comprised of 38 people from varying organizations throughout Ohio, from pastors to city officials to medical professionals to state officials. Cincinnati vice mayor Christopher Smitherman and Cincinnati health commissioner Melba Moore are among those listed on the task force.