Civic Engagement, Policy & Community Interventions

Sparks, GA
United States

Documented the effects of COVID-19 on people in rural Cook County, Georgia, to enhance services provided to residents.

Many rural communities across the Deep South face disproportionate health outcomes, food insufficiency, and racial and ethnic disparities. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these conditions, making life a daily struggle for many rural families. Cook County Family Connection, part of the largest statewide public and private family connection collaboration network in the United States, implemented a study to capture data that documented the effects of this health crisis on residents and families across rural Cook County, Georgia. The data sought to answer: 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? 

Cook County Family Connection published their "Rural Voices: Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Cook County, Georgia Residents" report, which outlines the impact COVID-19 had on residents with regards to food security, physical health, mental health/emotional wellness,  employment/economics, and childcare/education. The report presented findings from over 250 surveys of residents and interviews conducted with community leaders and agency directors.

Cook County Family Connection published the information and presented it to all partners and stakeholders, including the Cook County Family Connection coalition of 60 diverse community partners. The findings were also disseminated on social media and through local and statewide media outlets. The findings, such as the growing inability of residents to access basic needs like food and shelter, or the importance of focusing on mental health and isolation, and the unique challenges facing residents. This report will help stakeholders enhance and/or modify services to better serve the pressing needs of residents and families.