Connect with us


The Pandemic is NOT Over: 75% of Douglas County Cases are People of Color

By:  Revive Omaha Staff
May 13, 2020

Over 75% of Coronavirus cases in Douglas County are people of color.

Urgent Warning.  The Pandemic is not over.  The numbers are on a stunning rise especially among African-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos and Asians.  In the past 11 days (May 2 – May 13), cases among African Americans have increased from 108 to 228, Asians from 79 to 281 and Hispanic/Latinos a staggering 142 to 837.

Kenny McMorris, CEO of Charles Drew Health Center had this to say:  “We have long known that when it comes to health outcomes in America, inequalities have persisted along racial lines. The recent coronavirus pandemic has shined an ugly light on these disparities as severe cases of COVID 19, the illness caused by the virus, are disproportionately affecting African American communities at a higher rate.”

According to Douglas County, some of the spike is related to increased testing and a higher percentage of positive tests.  Officials also say the meatpacking plants are also contributing significantly to this increase.

The increases indicate that a large number of residents in Douglas County and the City of Omaha are walking around in their communities with the Coronavirus and they are not aware that they have the disease.  They are not showing any symptoms but can pass the virus on to others.  This is urgent and important.  This is still an emergency.

We must follow the advice and guidance of local and national health professionals and community leaders including Douglas County Health Director – Dr. Adi Pour, Charles Drew Health Center CEO – Kenny McMorris, County Commissioner and Chair of the Douglas County Board of Health – Chris Rodgers, experienced local physicians and NIAID director, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

They are giving loud warnings to our communities that THIS IS NOT OVER.  They are telling us there’s danger in moving too soon.  Dr. Fauci in his testimony before Congress this week, said governmental agencies should be very careful in reopening and if done too soon risk accelerating the spread of the virus.

They are basically saying, “Do not reopen stores, restaurants and churches too quickly and stay home unless you absolutely need to go out.”  When you go out, you must wear a mask or at the minimum a cloth face covering.  There are far too many individuals still going to stores and other locations without masks.

We understand the importance of reopening the economy.  People are suffering without jobs and wages to support their homes.  And, we realize most are ready to resume their normal lifestyles.  We support reopening after we’ve seen two weeks of declining cases as recommended by local and national health professionals.  We have not seen two weeks of decreases, but rather a dramatic increase in the number of cases.  Let’s work together the next few weeks to get things under control before we reopen.

Dr. Adi Pour reminds us that “underlying illnesses, i.e. diabetes, asthma, hypertension, obesity, makes someone vulnerable to the virus and can result in more severe outcomes.”

Douglas County has seen a major spike in Coronavirus cases in the past few weeks.  It appears that many in the community are beginning to relax and put down their guards because of the roll back of some health directives and measures.  We must stay vigilant.

For North Omaha as of May 13th, zip code 68014 has had 1,001 tested with 172 positive.  Of those testing positive, 43.6% are Asian, 15.7% are African-American and 14.3% are Hispanic.

In zip code 68111, there have been 747 tested with 120 positive.  Of those testing positive, 36.7% are Asian, 24.2% are African-American and 27.5% are Hispanic.

In zip code 68110, there have been 493 tested with 59 positive.  Of those testing positive, 28.8% are Asian, 35.6% are African-American and 18.6% are Hispanic.

African-American and North Omaha leaders are strongly encouraging you to Stay Home, Stay Safe and Support the Village.

  • Please stay home unless it is absolutely necessary that you leave the house.  You should leave only for groceries, work or an emergency.
  • Stay safe by following personal distancing and wearing a mask anytime you must go out for groceries or other emergency visits.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others and group gatherings should be 10 or less.
  • Please call Charles Drew Health Center (402-451-3553) or your health provider to get tested.  Getting tested is free. Please call if you are concerned about having the virus or feel that you have been exposed.
  • Please continue to wash your hands for 20 seconds.
  • Sneeze into a Kleenex or at last resort into your covered elbow.
  • Please wash hands immediately after sneezing.
  • And, you can Support the Village by completing the census and voting.  Do not let the virus stop you from completing the census online and voting in the general election.
  • Completing the census will bring millions of dollars into North and South Omaha to help fill many needs.
  • And, finally, you can support the Village by supporting black owned businesses, businesses owned by people of color and businesses in North and South Omaha.

Please share this information and keep your family and community safe.

Stay Home.  Stay Safe.  Support the Village!

Continue Reading


How Are You Feeling? Here’s a quick way to check your health…

COVID-19 has caused most of us to experience a wide range of emotions. During stressful and difficult times, such as COVID-19, our mental health must be a top priority.

The Center for Holistic Development is offering a free, anonymous and confidential screening to determine if you, or someone you care about should connect with a behavioral health professional. You will see your results immediately following the brief questionnaire, along with recommendations and resources.

Click here to take the anonymous screening.

Visit CHD for more information regarding the Center for Holistic Development and its programs.

Center for Holistic Development is celebrating 20 years of serving the community.

CEO and Founder, Doris Moore.

The Center for Holistic Development is also a partner with the Healthy Village Collaborative.


Get connected to vitally important resources through the Empowerment Network’s Healthy Village Collaborative.  You can find links to food, housing support, health care, jobs, job training and more here.

Healthy Village Collaborative

Continue Reading


Kenny McMorris and Charles Drew playing leadership role with COVID-19: Resources Available

Kenny McMorris, Chief Executive Officer of the Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. and his staff at North Omaha’s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) have led the way with the community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles Drew is one of the longest running test sites which has facilitated over  11,000 tests since COVID-19 started impacting the state of Nebraska. McMorris has consistently pushed to increase the number of tests, masks, health services and to make other resources more available in the community.  He is now partnering with others to plan for and implement the vaccination strategy.

Charles Drew has partnered with other FQHCs across the state and country to make sure urban and rural communities have the quality health care they need during this time.  Charles Drew is serving an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse population of African-Americans, Latinos, Asian, Sudanese, Somalian, Native Americans and others in North Omaha.

Charles Drew offers a full range of comprehensive primary health services including:  medical dental, behavioral health,  and pharmacy.   The team also facilitates community services, including enrollment for health insurance and Medicaid,  improving access to healthy foods and other supports that address the Social Determinants of Health.

Across the country, African-Americans and people of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, partly because of conditions and disparities that existed well before the pandemic started to wreak havoc.   Research shows those with pre-existing conditions and morbidity issues have greater risks of serious illness or death because of the Coronavirus.

African-Americans suffer from elevated levels of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other diseases that make them prone to the severe impacts of COVID-19.  While there are debates about what causes African-Americans to have higher incidents of these diseases, national reports show that poverty, systemic racism and longstanding economic issues have served as a major driver of these health inequities..

Some will argue African-Americans create their own health issues.  Yes, personal behavior has a role, but 80% of health outcomes have been tied to social determinants which include education, employment, housing and access to healthy foods.

The pandemic has shined the light on the fact that African-Americans still live in heavily segregated, under resourced neighborhoods which have higher rates of unemployment, poverty, underfunded and poorer performing schools, dilapidated and unhealthy homes and areas considered to be food deserts when it comes to health foods.

Charles Drew was created to address many of these concerns related to improving access to quality health care and partnering with others to also make fresh fruits and vegetables available in the neighborhood.

McMorris has consistently championed the need for residents to have a primary health home.

“We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for everyone in our community to have a primary health home, a primary medical doctor,” said McMorris.

“The conditions in which people live, learn and work contribute to their health.  These conditions, over time lead to different levels of health risks, needs and outcomes among some racial and ethnic groups.  In a public health emergency such as COVID-19, these conditions can also isolate people from the resources they need to prepare for and respond to an outbreak.”

“Charles Drew continues to serve with distinction and dedication.  Kenny McMorris has really been on top of getting the community the latest information.  In these very difficult days this community stalwart has stood tall,” said Ben Gray, City Councilman

McMorris consistently reminds leaders and elected officials that the community cannot just host events and serve people in the ER or urgent care.

“We need to know what caused them to get there and we need to provide services to help prevent the cycle from being repeated,” said McMorris.  “We need to address the underlying issues by being proactive.”

As the community continues with COVID-19 testing, Charles Drew is also in a leadership position with helping to administer the vaccine.  Charles Drew is coordinating with Douglas County and the state of Nebraska to expand locations to make the vaccine more available as the different phases are announced and implemented.

McMorris has worked directly with Dr. Adi Pour, Douglas County Health Director, and Dannette Smith, CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, to keep the needs of North Omaha residents at the forefront.


He’s also actively participated in meetings with Councilman Ben Gray, Commissioner Chris Rodgers, State Senator Justin Wayne, Governor Pete Ricketts and other elected officials to present strategies and solutions to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Charles Drew plays an important role as the Health Care compass for North Omaha and the underserved at large. Kenny’s leadership during the pandemic cannot be underestimated.  He is an authentic voice with North Omaha roots that the community can trust. “said Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers, who is also the Chair of the Board of Health.

McMorris and Larry Duncan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Charles Drew, have partnered with the Empowerment Network and dozens of other community organizations on the Healthy Village Collaborative funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services through CARES funding.  The collaborative has helped to connect residents in North Omaha with food, health services, job training, and housing during the pandemic.

McMorris and other team members, Aja Anderson and Maurtice Ivy, are active members of the North Omaha COVID-19 Task Force.  Anderson has helped to lead efforts with testing and distribution of masks while Ivy has served a leading role with getting residents enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program.

Charles Drew team members have also served on numerous committees across the region and state, playing a critical role with meeting the needs of clients and the community.  Dr. Cheryl Logan, superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, has counted on Charles Drew in many ways before and during the pandemic.

“Kenny and his team have gone above and beyond to assist OPS, our children and families with testing and quality health services throughout this crisis,” said Logan.

Charles Drew is dedicated to providing quality comprehensive health care in a manner that acknowledges the dignity of the individual, the strength of the family, and the supportive network of the community.

“As board chairman for Charles Drew Health Center Board of Directors I’m extremely proud of the leadership of Mr. Kenny McMorris and the service provided by the members of the organization,” said John Ewing, Jr., Douglas County Treasurer.  “This amazing team provided accurate health information to the community, became a major provider of testing and partnered with the Omaha Public Schools for testing to keep the staff and students healthy. They will be a leader in the vaccination process as well. They are a trusted source of healthcare in our community.”

To connect with Charles Drew, please go to their website:

Stay informed with frequent updates on Facebook.

Charles Drew Health Center is also a partner with the Healthy Village Collaborative.


Get connected to vitally important resources through the Empowerment Network’s Healthy Village Collaborative.  You can find links to food, housing support, health care, jobs, job training and more here.

Healthy Village Collaborative

Continue Reading


North Omaha Area Health Clinic: Offering Resources to the Community to Address COVID-19

(Photo Credit:  Heartland Service)

The North Omaha Area Health Clinic and its founder Ira Combs are in the community and for the community.  NOAH has launched innovative initiatives that reach and directly serve the North Omaha community.  Combs excels in education, outreach and providing outstanding health services to the community.

“My goal is to make North Omaha the healthiest place in the state of Nebraska,” said Combs.

Ira has consistently focused on making sure the community most in need receives the quality health services they deserve at a price they can afford.  The NOAH team consistently goes above and beyond to meet community members where they are in a respectful way that honors them.

Combs and his team also make youth and young adults a major focus for the organization.  For years, Ira has created attention getting outreach and educational campaigns, culturally relevant superheroes and cartoon characters to reach youth in the community.

Ira has been recognized locally and nationally for his work in the community.  In 2013, Ira was presented with the prestigious “Champion of Change” award by President Barack Obama’s White House.

The vision of the North Omaha Area Health Clinic is to be a beacon of light in our community, by ministering to the hearts, body, and minds of families and individuals in North Omaha.

The mission is provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.  Our primary value is “the needs of the patient come first.”

It is incredibly important to have NOAH in our community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and to learn more, please connect to NOAH here or call 402-933-0737.

Connect with NOAH on Facebook here.

LOCATION:  5620 Ames Ave, Omaha NE, 68104

Hours of Operation:
Monday: 12pm to 5pm
Tuesday: 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 12pm to 6pm
Friday: 12pm to 5pm
Saturday: 12pm to 4pm
Sunday: Closed

NOAH is also a partner with the Healthy Village Collaborative.

Get connected to vitally important resources through the Empowerment Network’s Healthy Village Collaborative.  You can find links to food, housing support, health care, jobs, job training and more here.

Healthy Village Collaborative

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!