Commission talks with lawmakers about COVID-19 impacts

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A Commission dedicated to promoting programs and opportunities as well as eliminating disparities for people of color in Maine met with lawmakers on Tuesday.

It was part of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee online hearing.

Members of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Maine Tribal Populations talked about a variety of topics.

Among them - how COVID-19 has impacted minorities.

For example, they say some don't have access to adequate healthcare.

They also talked about how the effects of racism and implicit bias on a person's health.

Representative, Rachel Talbot Ross, said, "It is essential to name that racism is a state emergency. Racism has created inequality in access to healthcare, housing, wealth, education, and unemployment. All of which undermine health in general. It is time to name racism as the crisis that it is."

They also laid out solutions like adding minorities to the table to help with decision making.

Members say you can see some of the disparities in COVID-19 case numbers.

For example, they say in April Black Mainers made up 5 percent of positive cases.

That has now jumped to 27 percent.

You can access all coronavirus date on the Maine CDC website, including COVID-19 cases by race and ethnicity.