Local News

Many factors behind high rate of COVID-19 infections for Durham's Hispanic community

Posted June 9, 2020 4:55 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2020 10:46 a.m. EDT

— The Hispanic community in Durham has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. According to the census, Hispanics make up just about 13% of Durham County’s population. But just last month, they made up 67% of the county’s COVID-19 cases.

“One of the factors could be the line of work, because they are exposed," said Pilar Rocha-Goldberg of El Centro Hispano. Rocha-Goldberg’s group provides assistance and advice to Spanish speakers who may otherwise not understand how to navigate systems of government and health care to get the information they need.

“A lot of these resources are online. Some of them are a little hard to get the information, so it’s not as easy as calling a number," Rocha-Goldberg said. "We’re working on that to see how we can get that information easily to the community."

The language barrier is also an issue.

Jennifer Morales recently lost her little sister to COVID-19. She is the only English speaker in her home. She had to be the interpreter for her family during a difficult time.

“Sometimes I’m not the best to translate which can make it hard to translate the right information to them,” Morales said.

The lack of job security and trust are also contributing factors that put the Hispanic community at a disadvantage in this pandemic.

“Most of them are afraid to go to certain sites to get testing due to fear of immigration,“ Morales said.

Durham public health officials say they are working closely with community partners to engage with the Latinx community and figure out a way to bring the number of cases down.

The county has developed a website and COVID-19 informational videos in Spanish, Spanish text and email subscription services and a radio campaign on local Spanish radio.

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