Aug. 13—The Dalton Finance Committee voted 3-0 Thursday to approve $25,000 in funding for a program that will send Spanish-speaking healthcare educators into the Hispanic community to provide information on COVID-19.
The Whitfield County Board of Commissioners approved $25,000 in funding for that program at its Monday meeting
The Finance Committee is made up of the City Council members. Council member Tyree Goodlett recused himself from the vote due to serving on the board of the Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), the group that will operate the program. Mayor David Pennington, who typically votes only if there is a tie, cast the third vote. One City Council position is vacant.
CLILA will send two Spanish-speaking healthcare educators, known as promotoras, into the community to provide information on vaccines for COVID-19 as well as testing for the virus.
The plan also calls for the group to set up two vaccination events each month in areas accessible to the Hispanic community. CLILA has set a goal of getting the vaccination rate for Hispanics in Whitfield County up to 55% by Dec. 31, 2021, from the current 31%. By comparison, 34.1% of white Whitfield County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, 32.1% of Blacks are vaccinated and 58.7% of Asians are vaccinated.
CLILA founder America Gruner said the grants will help the all-volunteer group continue work it has already been doing. She said they have held 12 COVID-19 vaccine events this year in partnership with the city of Dalton, Community Hospice and the North Georgia Health District.
Gruner said since March 2020 CLILA has “canvassed about 1,000 houses distributing 13,000 fliers with information about COVID and testing,” among other activities.
“Promotoras will go more often and more personally to the community raising awareness and educating people, easing their concerns and dispelling myths,” she said.
The Finance Committee also voted 3-0, with Goodlett supplying the third vote, to provide $20,000 to the Thrive Regional Partnership, a public/private effort in the South Tennessee/Northwest Georgia/East Alabama region to guide growth and development in that region.