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A new survey looks at community perceptions of COVID-19
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State health officials are pushing a new online survey to gather community perceptions of COVID-19 in Mississippi. As MPB’s Ashley Norwood reports, answers collected from the questionnaire will be used to evaluate strategies and approaches for the state’s response to the coronavirus.

The Mississippi Department of Health’s Community Response Survey begins with questions about your personal background like your age, race, income and if you’re insured. Then it proceeds to ask about your knowledge and perceptions of the coronavirus. The most significant part of the survey is the question about what resources are not available in your area and what can the health department do to help your community combat the deadly virus.

Chigozie Udemgba is director of Health Equity at the state health department.

“It’s important to get that community perspective because if we’re not in that community we do not know exactly those day-to-day needs that that community needs. And so you as a member of your own community have a strong voice that can really bring to light some of those issues that really need to be addressed,” said Udemgba.

This survey comes after data in Mississippi revealed more than 50 percent of coronavirus cases were found in African Americans. As of Monday the state health department reported 169 deaths from the virus, 107 were black people. The death rate of African Americans has largely been linked to the prevalence of pre-existing health conditions.

Udemgba says surveying what vulnerable populations are seeing and needing in their communities is critical in developing statewide response plans against the coronavirus.

“We’re all interconnected in some type of way. Whether we’re receiving services from different individuals or we’re in the community together whether we’re going to church together. We’re interconnected. It’s important that those vulnerable populations are taken care of so that we overall as a community are healthy. Whatever part of our community isn’t healthy that affects our entire community, especially when you’re talking about something like an infectious disease,” said Udemgba.

For more information about the community response survey, visit the Mississippi State Health Department on social media.