TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Not everyone in the Tampa Bay area is feeling the impact of COVID-19 the same way. That’s why local leaders are working to make sure that African Americans aren’t hit harder than their neighbors.      

The City of Tampa, in partnership with the Tampa Family Health Centers, held a series of coronavirus webinars called “Real Talk on ‘Rona.


  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

The next webinar of the five part series is titled “Health & Wellness After COVID-19.” It’s scheduled for May 1 at 12 p.m.

Other sessions included, “Tips to Evaluate your Child’s Mental Health” and “Chronic Conditions and COVID-19.”

They’re answering questions and providing info about the virus.

“There are number of myths and misinformation, so we wanted to make sure the facts and the stats are given to the community,” said Ocea Wynn, with the City of Tampa.

Dr. Monica Rider, the Chief Medical Officer with Tampa Family Centers, leads the webinars.

The 15 centers in Hillsborough County see more than 109,000 people. 45,000 don’t have insurance.

Thousands of them have pre-existing conditions, which puts them at greater risk of COVID-19.

“We are very well aware of how poorly the undeserved community can be affected by the everyday disease and here comes COVID to complicate things. So we were ready and able and willing to take care of these patients who can’t get services anywhere else,” Dr. Rider said.

In Hillsborough County, 61 percent of the COVID deaths are white, 22 percent are African American and 9 percent are Hispanic.

8 On Your Side asked State Senator Darryl Rouson about those numbers and he said they could be way off for a reason.

“I think it is a lack of testing. We’ve just started providing testing in low income neighborhoods through walk-ups and drive-throughs,” Rouson said.

Rouson added there has to be an investment in under-served communities all the time.

The state’s Office of Minority Health, started in the early 2000s. It has seen its funding dwindle from $10 million down to about $3.8 million.

“We need to do more. We need to take this thing seriously,” Rouson said.

He said when things like this novel coronavirus hit, it won’t hit one group harder than the other.

But is it a state priority?

“We think it is now because the alarm has been sounded,” Rouson said.