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60% of COVID-19 Cases in Dallas County are Hispanics

With almost 23,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County, 60% of those are Hispanic, followed by 9% African-American and 8% white.   Hispanics make up 41% of the county population.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the following comment on their website "Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. Among some racial and ethnic minority groups, including non-Hispanic black persons, Hispanics and Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, evidence points to higher rates of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 than among non-Hispanic white persons."

The same scenario is playing out in different parts of the country.  

The Hispanic community has unique challenges.   One challenge is the language barrier and getting accurate information.  Free testing is slow and positive results are not being informed until days, even a week in some cases, after testing.  One Irving resident that is from El Salvador tested positive to COVID-19 this past Saturday when she received the results.  The problem is she took the test 8 days prior and during that time kept working.  Although she took precautions such as wearing a mask, those that came into contact could have potentially been impacted.  Another challenge for Hispanics is the fear of getting deported if tested.   In this case, city officials must make it clear that testing will not result in deportations.  

A third challenge for Hispanics is that they are more likely to work in front line and essential jobs.  These jobs in food, agriculture and construction do not offer their workers' healthcare benefits.  Cesar, a Mexican immigrant and a construction worker, told Irving Weekly that someone tested positive at his job site and everyone was given the opportunity to stay at home and quarantine themselves for 2 weeks.  Seems very diligently on the part of the employer, but the problems is that the 2 weeks would be unpaid.  "With my family relying on my paycheck and on a fixed income, I could not go without pay for 2 weeks", said Cesar.   He said no one took the 2 weeks off and at least 6 more later tested positive for COVID-19, including Cesar who is battling serious symptoms.  

In an interview with WFAA TV, Liz Cedillo-Pereira, chief of equity and inclusion for the City of Dallas, said a lack of federal aid and culturally-appropriate messaging plays a role in this troubling issue.  The good news is that the City of Dallas is launching a new COVID-19 testing site at the Mexican consulate July 8 that should help.   

Dallas is also partnering with community leaders in a new LatinX taskforce and a resilience fund for immigrant residents who don’t qualify for federal stimulus funds.

“This fund will provide critical cash in hand to families that are impacted by COVID-19 severely,” Cedillo-Pereira told WFAA TV.



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