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As COVID-19 numbers surge, Latinos urged to call off family celebrations like quinceañeras

Community leaders point out that hospitalization rates among Latinos is four times higher. The death rate is also higher for a variety of reasons.

Latino leaders and health care officials are concerned about traditional Hispanic celebrations going on in the midst of a pandemic that is decimating the Latino community.

The quinceañera is a celebration when a young girl turns 15 years old.

Community leaders say these and other gatherings are still going on. The stores that sell dresses for quinceañeras remain open on Jefferson in Dallas.

"Well if you are going to have a quinceañera, guess what, it might be your last," said LULAC's Hilda Duarte.

Duarte and LULAC have been trying to get the word out in English and Spanish to halt the fiestas for now.

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“We know we love each other too much to endanger one another, and this is what COVID is doing,” said Duarte.

Take a look at the COVID-19 numbers in Dallas County. Hispanics make up 47 percent of COVID cases, but 42 percent of the population. In Tarrant County, Latinos make up 28 percent of COVID cases and 29 percent of the population.

Latino leaders say hospitalization rates among Latinos is four times higher. They are front-line workers and have less access to health care and insurance so the mortality rate is also higher.

Angelica Andrade works for a nonprofit called the North Texas Dream Team. She and three others in her family don't have health insurance.

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"[We're] very anxious and very scared, to be honest,” said Andrade.

Like many who are uninsured, they wonder: At what point do they go to the hospital for treatment they can't afford?

“It would leave me in a vulnerable situation financially,” said Andrade.

She says she avoids big gatherings and tries to work from home as much as possible because she knows COVID is decimating her community and wants to stay safe and keep her family healthy.