Capturing qualitative data to document the effects of COVID-19 on people in rural Cook County, Georgia, to enhance services provided to residents.
Even in the best of times, many rural communities across the Deep South face disproportionate health inequities, food insufficiency, and racial and ethnic disparities. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these conditions, making life a daily struggle for many rural families. Cook County Family Connection, part of the largest statewide public and private collaboration network in the United States, is implementing a study to capture data that will document the effects of this health crisis on residents and families across rural Cook County, Georgia. The data will answer pressing questions: How has COVID-19 changed residents’ daily lives? How are residents without employment managing health care needs? What traumas are residents and families experiencing? What racial and ethnic patterns are the data surfacing?
To collect the data, Cook County Family Connection will ask 35 of its partner organizations and agencies to descriptively document how the daily lives of their clients, customers, and/or consumers have been changed by COVID-19, with a focus on employment, health care, food access, economic crisis, and trauma. The descriptions may take the form of accounts, stories, or photographs. The methods used to gather this information will include client conversations, qualitative interviews, anecdotal stories, and survey tools. Cook County Family Connection will summarize common trends and racial and ethnic patterns.
Although aggregated data have been published at the national and state levels on deaths, hospitalizations, and unemployment, this study will offer a more holistic look at how individual lives are affected by COVID-19 through firsthand accounts. Cook County Family Connection will publish the information and present it to all partners and stakeholders, including the Cook County Health Department, the Cook County School District, the Adel–Cook County Chamber of Commerce, the Cook County Community Service Center, the Cook County Division of Family and Children Services, the Cook County Senior Center, and the broader Cook County Family Connection coalition of 60 diverse community partners. The findings will help these stakeholders enhance and/or modify services to better serve the needs of residents and families.