Communities across the country--including our own--are reeling from the murder of George Floyd. The past several days have been devastating as we grieve for George and the long line of people of color who have been killed while in police custody. The anger and frustration isn’t new, nor is police violence against black people and other people of color. During this time, we remember the lives of so many who have senselessly lost their lives, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castille, Tony Robinson, and many others. Together we strive for a future in which black lives are valued and protected.

As we all are taking really important actions to protest injustice, we also want to encourage everyone to take precautions against COVID-19. Our health department has been immersed in COVID-19 for the past five months, and it has once again laid bare the health inequities that exist between white people and communities of color. Nationally, people of color are getting sick and dying more often than white people, a trend that is not unique to COVID-19.

In an effort to reduce these disparities and to protect our most vulnerable communities, please continue to wear masks and cloth face coverings, sanitize or wash hands often, and try to keep a six foot distance from others. Anyone who attends a gathering should watch for symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, consult your healthcare provider or visit the community test site to be tested.

Racism is a public health crisis, and unjust policies and systems have created and perpetuated the inequities that persist everywhere in our country, including here in Dane County. Public Health Madison & Dane County has a commitment to being anti-racist, and we will continue to grow as we work with our community to build a more just Dane County.

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