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Massachusetts launches public awareness campaign to stop spread of COVID-19

Community Tracing Collaborative
Massachusetts launches public awareness campaign to stop spread of COVID-19
Community Tracing Collaborative

Massachusetts has launched a new multicultural campaign to help stop the spread of COVID in diverse communities that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Through this campaign, the Commonwealth is engaging ethnic media outlets and community influencers to get the word out to diverse residents in their own languages. This will ensure the state’s most vulnerable populations have the information and support they need to slow the spread of COVID.

There is a major need for such efforts, particularly in communities such as Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Lawrence, Revere and other major hotspots that have seen COVID rates rise to several times the state’s average.

In many of these communities, workers are considered essential and are on the front lines of the COVID crisis, working in food service, public transportation and sanitation. Latino populations also face high rates of chronic illness, such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes, that leave the immune system more vulnerable to the virus.

Governor Baker’s administration, alongside Partners In Health, has stepped up to address this with a nation-leading outreach and education campaign. The campaign is already operating in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Kreol, Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic.

The goal is to reach key audiences that tested positive for COVID-19 or have come in contact with someone who tested positive, with information in their own languages and via trusted media outlets and influencers.

The campaign has already launched a series of ads on ethnic and digital media outlets such as Facebook, Pandora and Hulu to reach people on their mobile devices and social networks.

The main message of the program is designed to build trust and increase participation in the Commonwealth’s new Community Tracing Collaborative.

Through this program, more than 1,600 callers have been hired to reach out to confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and their close contacts. The program has already made more than 25,000 calls.

“Our goal is to create a community-focused program that uses trustworthy sources and voices to stop the spread of coronavirus,” said Josiane Martinez, founder and CEO of Archipelago Strategies Group (ASG), which is working with Partners In Health to administer the public awareness campaign.

“Governor Baker’s administration has stepped up in a big way to make this multicultural campaign possible, and we know it will help save lives in our communities,” added Martinez.

The messages are being promoted through ethnic radio ads, 30-second web videos and animations in multiple languages, as well as multilingual bus shelter ads and train platform posters, to reach people where they are.

The messages focus on how the power lies in the hands of the community to stop the spread of COVID, and how participating in the contact-tracing program is among the “greatest acts of love.” 

The campaign is also setting up a series of online and radio help lines, featuring hour-long live conversations between state leaders and listeners who will be able to call in with questions.

And the campaign will also tap into Massachusetts’ network of independent producers, including community leaders and journalists who keep their cultural heritage alive by broadcasting to communities in their language of origin.

Martinez stresses that this campaign is not just a media blitz. It will also have a strong and safe community engagement component to distribute flyers, hand sanitizers and other swag at essential businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, to reach people where they are with critical information.

“We will work with local leaders, nonprofits, and other influencers and amplifiers to become validators for this campaign, to ensure we are reaching deep into communities,” she added.

Along with its contact tracing program, Massachusetts considers this to be another nation-leading campaign that will help slow and stop the spread of COVID in the diverse communities that need help the most.

For information on COVID-19 testing, visit:

www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download

www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-testing

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