May 8, 2020


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in central Ohio, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will hand out thousands of community care kits to vulnerable populations in Franklin County. The kits contain isolation masks, soap, hand sanitizer, dental hygiene supplies, water and educational materials.

Starting Monday, May 11, teams will distribute the community care kits to residents in vulnerable communities that have been disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, due in part to their socioeconomic status and underlying health conditions. These target areas are in the 43219, 43211, 43207, 43223 and 43203 zip codes.

“As we seek to build healthy communities, we have to focus on factors outside of the health system that impact a person’s health and well-being,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for Health Affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Social determinants of health such as multi-generational housing, low-wage essential employment and neighborhood infrastructure make social distancing difficult. These community care kits will help counter these concerns. By providing these essential tools for safety, we can support social distancing with masks, help slow the spread of the virus and keep people out of the hospital.”

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified several health conditions that put people at greater risk of severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. The people who live in these communities have higher rates of these chronic diseases such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

“As the state of Ohio reopens and people resume normal activities, the resources in the community care kits will be vital to reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the burden that the disease, COVID-19, has on our diverse communities,” said Dr. Darrell Gray II, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, associate professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and chair of the Healthy Communities Oversight Group. “Along with masks and hand hygiene materials, there will be educational materials to ensure proper use for maximum protection. We are working to ensure that these materials are in multiple languages as well.”

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Community Care Coach will park at various community partner sites in the 43219, 43211, 43207, 43223 and 43203 zip codes for contactless drive-thru and walk-up distribution. These areas were identified by combining data from the Health Convergence Analysis, Health Opportunity Index, The Ohio State University Kirwan Institute Opportunity Index and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index.

The community care kits were made possible by the generosity of organizations throughout the state of Ohio, including the Columbus Police Department, Columbus Public Health, Franklin County Public Health, Columbus City Schools and the National African American Male Wellness Initiative. The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Supply Chain Donation Center provided the non-clinical isolation masks; L Brands, the City of Columbus, Blackwell Inn and Conference Center and Motel 6 contributed soap; Superior Dental Care donated the dental hygiene kits and Coca-Cola Consolidated donated water. 

To view the community care kit distribution schedule, visit


Media contact: Serena Smith, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737,


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