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Hispanic community being hit hardest by COVID-19

According to data, more Hispanics have died in Harris County due to coronavirus than any other ethnic group.

HOUSTON — There is a push to raise awareness about the dangers of COVID-19 in the Hispanic community.

City of Houston and health officials said the Latino community is the most negatively affected demographic in our region.

Dr. Shannon Guillot-Wright, associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, said health and social inequities are leading to a rise in cases among Hispanics.

For example, long lines at the Mexican consulate in Houston for free testing show the need for testing sites aimed at reaching a vulnerable group in this community.

“It could be not having a government issued ID and so not going to get tested. It could be a fear of the healthcare system in general," Dr. Guillot-Wright said.

According to data, more Hispanics have died in Harris County due to coronavirus than any other ethnic group.

However, Hispanics also make up almost 45 percent of the county’s population.

Dr. Guillot-Wright said the Hispanic population in the region is experiencing higher rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths because they more visible than other groups.

“Often times the Latinx population are our essential workers so they’re on the frontlines. They’re having the most contact with the public," she said.

Dr. Guillot-Wright said they’re working lower wage jobs and are afraid of losing income if they don’t show up to work.

“We have seen where one person will get infected and then the entire business may have to close or the entire family unit ends up being sick,” she said.

To slow down the spread, she said the right information needs to get to them.

“Language access is really important so making sure that anything that goes out is translated and translated properly," Dr. Guillot-Wright said.

The City of Houston has launched the “Todos Juntos. Mejor” campaign, or “Better Together,” which targets Latinos and provides crucial information in Spanish.

Dr. Guillot-Wright said flattening the curve in this sector of the community falls on all of us.

“Whenever we go to businesses and whenever we’re out in the community and when we’re eating at restaurants it’s really important that we are also practicing safe hand hygiene, and mask wearing and social distancing,” she said.

The City of Houston plans to open a free testing site targeting the Hispanic community at HCC’s Felix Fraga campus at 301 N. Drennan at Navigation on July 13.

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