GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly three years after the first recorded case of COVID-19 in Michigan, Lt. Gov. Garland Gilchrist says some of the lessons learned during the tumultuous time turned out to be good ones.

He said he is overall very proud of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that a task force looking into racial disparity when it comes to medical care access and quality is one reason why.

Gilchrist explained that recognizing that rates of infection and deaths were higher by far in the Black community early on and acting set the state apart from others.

The task force released its report Monday in Detroit, and Gilchrist talked about some of the steps taken to narrow the gap in the availability of healthcare by the end of the pandemic.

“That was due to so many of the interventions that happened. Not just one but the combination (of) neighborhood-based testing and vaccination sites, mobile units, differentiated communications strategies, building relationships, the grant program that funded organizations across the state of Michigan (and) the infrastructure that we helped to build. I mean, we built critical infrastructure that was new. We built testing and isolation centers for migrant workers in west Michigan. We had to recognize that this was landing on different people differently,” he said.

According to the task force, the disparity in healthcare existed before the pandemic but was highlighted by the disproportionate toll COVID-19 took on the Black community.