NC teams up with Mexico, Guatemala officials to get coronavirus safety message out to Latino community
State health and safety officials provide a July 23, 2020, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
we have two special guests. I am joined by Consul General Jorge Are China of Guatemala and Consul General Claudia Velasco or so Oreo of Mexico. We're also joined by Lee Williamson and Monica McGhee, who are our American sign language interpreters and jasmine Motive. Here is our Spanish translator. First, I'll start with a rundown of the numbers. As of this morning, there were 106,893 laboratory confirmed cases. 1188 people are currently hospitalized, and sadly, there have now been 1726 deaths. While we are on steadier ground than most Southern states who continue to see viral spread accelerate, we have not yet turned a corner here. North Carolina is seeing the benefits of difficult but unnecessary approach that we have taken prioritizing scientific evidence and easing restrictions slowly and responsibly. I recognize that this has been a very challenging time. Yet people across North Carolina are taking actions to protect each other, including following the requirements to wear face coverings over the nose and the mouth. Unfortunately, we continue to see increases in cases, and there has especially been a notable and concerning increase in Cove in 19 cases among members of our states. Latin X, Hispanic community. That's why today the consul general of Mexico and Guatemala are joining Governor Cooper and our department to make an urgent call to the Latin X Hispanic community to take preventive measures against this virus. Cove in 19 is highly contagious, and unfortunately it's disproportionately affecting. Like I said, the Latin X and Hispanic individuals and communities in North Carolina, many members of our Latin X suspended communities work in essential jobs that are the backbone of the state's economy. The nature of the jobs put people at higher risk for getting infected from Cove in 19 at work and then potentially transmitting it back into their communities. In light of the trends I mentioned earlier, we need to turn up the volume volume on our core preventive messages. To do that successfully, we need to influence. We need influential leaders sharing the message. That's why I'm so pleased to be joined by Consul General Jorge Akila of Guatemala. So right now, I'm gonna turn it over to him. Thank you, Secretary Going Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm happy to be here today at this press conference to join forces with the state of North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Consulate of Mexico, in order to get this important message to all of our community. La La Borda, Tolosa Spano's Latino single Estelle What the multi Cozma's Kano's told or resident is the list telling General pursue. Constanta is for so diario in Saqqara. 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Yes, Atos TCM frequent Tacoma's troppo in case it was sitting on a sitting informa soon So I don't sell a Pereira or seen as a city and a record commedia. Who are you economica pulling your model? Consoler, Guatemala and rally Machar Osias. I want to think the work off all the Hispanics and Latinos in the state. What a Mallon's Mexicans and all North Carolinians for their constant daily effort to forward the state economy on their families. We joined today to bring you this message off caution. During this crisis, the Kobe 19 disease has being strong in our community, and we must take all the necessary precautions to prevent it from directly affecting us or our families. It is important to wear a mask social distance and wash your hands well to prevent any contagion. We also alert to all those who have some symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive that you should get the test on test may be done free of charge. regardless of their immigrant Torrey studies in order to break this chain of contagion. Thank you all. And you always have our support in the situation. If you have any questions or need any information about where to get tested or if you need re sources such as food or economic help, you can always call the consulate General Guatemala in rally. Thank you very much. And thank you for Consul General Belasco as well for this initiative. Thank you. Great. Thank you, Jorge. And now I'd like to introduce the Consul General Claudia, but Lasko horse Oreo of Mexico. Good afternoon, Secretary Cohen. Difficult times like those where are expecting today always require collaboration on delude while showing French leave on motel. Understand, This is on their principles that the Consulate General of Mexico has decides to strongly join Governor Scoopers is for to face the healthy emergency enjoyed secretary coins called to come together in the fight against this pandemic. It is a john task which off course includes the authorities on all the organizations in our society. But all symbols our community, our families on above all, each one off us the action that we have carry out with Great. As for over the course off several months off. Many fronts against Corbett, 19 will be ineffective if we let our guard down. If we do not become fully aware off the role that personally corresponds to us, I am pleasure that they North Carolina government is mindful off the characteristics off the work Mexican to do in food production and construction. I'm pleasure that the importance off their contribution to the state economy is recognized. But I must also point out that I fully share their interests for the benefit off all in orderly in reducing the hydrate off off infection that has bean register among Hispanic. This is imperative to attend each one off the authority recommendation, making sure that in our homes there Instru sure are follow fully on with our excuse on that. We all assume our responsibility in this emergency. Let me on low wish even briefly, the commitment off the government of Guatemala in the presence and dispose off. Consul General Archila toe once against tense Governor Roy Cooper, secretary coin on the team for their willingness to contribute this community common initiative. These in these difficult times more than never Solidarite Terry unit on joint work are key pieces to continue building the future that we share these buyers not will the fed us Thank you so much. 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Acbf Momenta compro me so del gobierno that Guatemala in Lepidus Sincerely disposition council Caneira Chila Agrega said una vez mas al gobernador Roy Cooper Saleh Secretary Cohen Yes, when people label in the country were corn estimates an estos tiempos a fischelis masculine last solidarity Carla Construction, they say for two rocket Compartamos Estaba does know knows about other required and simple last arrest Those which has, well, thank you both for being here by joining us in this effort. The consuls general, together with the nation's they represent Guatemala and Mexico are sending us an important message about the value of community. We are all in the fight against this virus together from the DHS side. That's why we've made it a priority to create bi Lingual Cove in 19 Resource is and community engagement strategies. Our Spanish language version of the Check My Symptoms tool lets people enter their symptoms to determine if they should get tested for Cove in 19 are bilingual. Find my testing place on our website allows people to enter their county or their zip code and access information about testing locations nearby, some of which are free, and our ongoing work to expand. That testing has included the surging of free testing sites in Latin, X Hispanic communities that previously had limited or no access to testing. And we're prioritizing hiring Spanish speaking staff member to join our cove in 19 community teams who perform contact tracing by reaching out to people who may have come into close contact with someone who tested positive for Cove in 19 and connecting them with resource is information and support. We need an all hands on deck approach to get critical public health information out there to people so that they can take action to protect themselves and their family. If you are a community organization, consider sharing. Our campaign resource is there on our Web site at Cove in 19 that NC DHHS dot gov again, thanks to our guests for being here today and for their partnership. Remember to practice the three W's where a face covering over your nose and your mouth wait six feet apart and wash your hands often. That's the three W's where weight and wash. And with that I will turn over to your questions. Our first question today is from Daniel Biota with Telemundo. Charlotte Yes, thank you very much for this opportunity. And we have seen I wouldn't sing, um, several cases off immigrants trying to get medical assistance because they're Kobe. 19 positive and they're having symptoms and they have been in hospitals, and unfortunately, there are 10 away. They have not admitted in the hospital because they do not have health insurance or for other reasons that we don't know yet. My question is for both our council Velasco Osorio consular Chila How, um, Mexico or what? Tamala are helping their immigrants in that unfortunate event. If they are not able to get medical care in a hospital in North Carolina, are you providing any type of assistance? Thank you. Then give so much for your question. Yes, of course. We are very aware that many and Mexicans don't have insurance on, they can call us. We are a partnership, A very important pernicious here in North Carolina to help them on to guide what is going on, where they can go, they can call to the Mexican consulate, and we are We can provide assistant for them. Yeah, Thank you for the question. And that is a very big concern. We had the consulate at the consulate have been developing partnerships with local organizations, local clinics and gather all the, uh, information so that any Guatemalan that will, like, request it or need any information from whichever county they leave. Either the state of North Carolina or South Carolina. We will have someone where to referred them as well as other organizations were being actively trying to reach out to all the Guatemalans that have been register at the consulate through our health window to give them all this resource is and help them prepare even before they get any symptoms or or prevent even to get six. Thank you. Thanks, Daniel. The next question is from Brian Anderson with the Associated Press. Hi, Dr Cohen. Brian Anderson here with the AP. Thank you so much for taking the time. I just wanted to ask. With the exception of Elements Speedway, has there been a single example of an enforcement action that the department has taken against businesses not complying with face masks? Order? There's disclosure requirements or capacity in gathering limitations. Brian, Thanks for that question. So their, um, our number of ways in which we work with businesses and organizations across the state to make sure they understand Ah, the requirements that are part of the executive order. Um, there are a number of steps that we take before we would want to use something like our abatement authority. We do try to reserve that for excessive or flagrant violations of restrictions that we think, um, and to use that in certain circumstances where we think there are imminent hazards. Ah, for folks in the community so often, we're trying to work with with folks who may not be complying with the, um, the rules. First, by reaching out to them in coordination with our local health departments. Ah, Then we make sure to also involve some of our local law enforcement partners in this because we know enforcement is at the local level on And then after we've moved through that process, I will say many folks acknowledge and, um, and do come into compliance with those and if necessary, then we will move forward with using our abatement authority. We have a follow up from Brian Anderson. Anything? Uh, as part of these discussions, Have you had any discussions with individual candidates? I'm thinking of, uh, Lieutenant Governor Dan Force holding massless events. Have you had any conversations with any candidates for public office, and if so, which ones in one of those conversations been like, I have personally not have any. Any conversations with folks who are running for office? Thanks. The next question is from Marlon Cardinals with water. I thank you for your time. My question would for the Consul General's I wanted to know that is the beginning of the pandemic. Have you guys had any cases of preparation and disposition of Germany? Yes. Hello. Yeah, we are working with several partnerships on We are we have in ours social media and we have the least that the people can go to find and support and not only foot another recorders and like and Google CEO in this time is a very important the mental. He'll also and way have all order resources in our social media. And, of course, we are working in if you have some case, so did you know something that someone that needs help in this issue you can contact our department off rotation? We can support them. Think. Thank you. The concept of what? The Milas. Well, we've been very active on our social media, sharing all the resource is available by the state by local organizations and reaching out again to do all the Guatemalan. See if anybody you know, it says any need. We've been able to refer people to food banks, to clinics to any other organizations that will help, even with rent or any other needs that they have. Ah, just have. If you know any Guatemalans you know, please have them call the Consulate of Guatemala. Thank you, Carolina Health news. Hi, Secretary. Thank you very much for taking my question. Um, and I'm sorry. Sparking, um the about that, um the joys of working from home. Okay, So, um, you have you folks had conversations with officials in Texas and Arizona where there are other large populations of Latinos. Um, you know, what are they doing to reach? They're Latino populations. And what are they doing that might be different or the same from what's happening here? Sure, I'll start, and I'll see if my other colleagues wanted to jump in from the consul generals as well. So we are definitely trying to share best practices across states in in a number of ways. I think some of the work that you're seeing us dio we saw modeled in other states, um, as you know, that we have supported Ah, five different let Latin X Hispanic organizations that have deep roots in North Carolina working close with the community. So just definitely a best practice of engaging, ah, longstanding organizations in this effort, also making sure that we have materials in in Spanish and in English as well as all of our online tools in both languages. We talked about that on and then, as we thought about our testing strategy as well. This is I know in San Antonio in particular that they're doing this kind of testing work where their surging testing sites that are free, that are paid for by the state in a number of their communities and really trying to be mobile and bring testing to where people are. So we definitely have learned some best practices from from others. But why don't I see if my colleagues want to share anything else that they may have learned from other states? Thank you. Thanks so much that you know, we have brought consular. Here we are 50 consulates in Mexico at the U. S. On all the consulates are working very close with the authorities and with organizations on. Of course, no matter their status, we are always ready to help everyone on a of course that. And Secretary Cohen says we are sharing the Reds practice in all our net off consulates. Thank you. Thank you. Like was the concert of Guatemala? We have 21 consulates throughout the state. We've been trying to reach out to all the watermelons with important information on prevention. We've translated all the document documentation and information not only to Spanish, but to the different Mayan languages that Guatemalan speak throughout the state to trying to rich them in their own native language. I think Great. Thanks for us. We have a follow up question from those open. Um, thank you. This is a different question. And it related to the question that the AP was asking, you know, what are the thoughts about enforcement of math? Or, you know, some schools are going to be meeting in person, and colleges will be meeting in person. What are going to be, uh, the how it how is comportment of using math on social distancing going to be done in those settings? Rose? You know, I think the data is very clear, that wearing a face covering and waiting six feet apart in washing hands, we keep seeing new studies come every day. There is just a new study out this week reinforcing that the three W's is not only evidence base, but it works, Um, and that we need to see everyone doing it. I think the governor ah, the other day said it best in terms of expressing what he thinks about everyone needing to be wearing face coverings. We all are in this together. We all care about North Carolina. We all care about making sure that our communities air healthy, that our economy can thrive, and the tool that we need to use to do that is to wear face coverings, use social distance and wash our hands. So we we call on all leaders of our state from the business community, the sports community, the education community and the political community to all come together to make sure that we are sharing these important public health safety measures. Together these air important. Our expectation is everyone is wearing a face covering in public settings. Thanks. The next question is from Daniel, hold our with progressive. Respond. Hello. Good afternoon. My name's more. Yeah. List from possesses final news in Shabwa. The question is, uh, from Mr Clothes Velasco. We would like to know what has seen to help that their own employers, uh, Mexican have seen with this from your in the acquisitive in Notre, lying from the council and hum being the process off perpetration off the party's off. The Mexican victims by Kobe 19. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I do know. Where are we Have a lot of mexicans working in several issue several topics on. We are trying to reach that. It is so important that they have to be protected on if they have any symptoms off Corbett. They have to tell them there to his boss that they need to do. Ah, Kombi test on. We are working with the farmers on. Of course, we we got that. The Khobar and the North Carolina government is going to protect them. They are going to send and sun protection for them. We are very happy to this on both. Of course, we have to steal working in and with them to continue wearing the three W's on. Ah, yes, it is a big task, but we are trying to do our best in this issue. Great. Thank you. Our next question is from Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. The Doctor Cohen, This is Richard Cravat. What? That was settled Journal wouldn't see this sort of follow up on earlier question. But we've had a story in our paper this morning involving a couple of strip clubs that have decided to guess, disobey, or just not pay attention to the mass gatherings, indoor executive order. And essentially, it sounds like local officials are basically ready for some sort of legal action before they take action. I just want to get a sense for what the HHS might be able to do to reinforce the executive order on those mass cavities like you did a speedway. We're Thanks for that, Richard. So there, you know there are number of folks who need to be doing better. Teoh. Pay attention to the details of our executive order. We would like to make sure that everyone is following those very carefully. We were very deliberate and how we have been thinking about easing restrictions. So the things that continue to be closed are are closed for a reason because they are high risk settings where viral transmission is very likely. Um, we have had good partnerships with our local public health departments. If we do hear about an incident like that, we do have our local public health departments reach out, make sure we're clarifying. The next step is then to partner with our local law enforcement. They are the They are the enforcement arm here of this work, and but to make sure that they are armed with the information that they need, um, and to help them in whatever way we can to make sure that they understand the reason why behind this Um And so that is the next step. If we see ongoing and flagrant violation of this, we have used theater hate mint order again. We try to use that order sparingly when we feel like there is imminent hazard. Um, of of, um, the public's health. Um, and we will continue to do use that going forward. Our next question is from Gonzalo Wire. With luck next. Hi. Thank you very much for the opportunity. My name is Gonzalo. Here I am from a connection and the connection USA in rally in. First of all, I wanna say thank you for the opportunity in for there for to, uh, do these press conferences, uh, focus in the Hispanic community. And my question is for Dr Cohen. We know that, uh, testing is so one of the most important faces on the thinking about the the symptoms from the people for the epidemic and that we want to know if there's gonna be a more doses available right now. The free does is for there for every everyone and we are obviously concerned from the Hispanic community. There limitations someday free testing for for the people in general. So we want to know if there's gonna be more A Those is available to check a more test, available a on the freeway for for our community. Because right now, the waiting time to schedule an appointment to get a to get a test. It is too long so that that will be my question. Well, thank you so much for this one. I want to take a step back. Testing is very important, but I do want to emphasize I think that message you were hearing from both consul generals as well as ah, that I was delivering today is we have to focus on the three W's. We have to work on slowing the spread of this virus and preventing it from spreading in our communities and doing the three W's testings important. But we want to make sure we get the message out today that is really about wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart, washing hands, doing that all the time everyday in all settings. That's really important, right? So just to focus on that as faras testing, we absolutely know that testing, um and that turnaround times for results as well as capacity at some of our sites is not where we would want it to be. Turnaround times are are slow across the board as we have seen our commercial labs just be swamped with the number of tests that they're getting. Our hospital labs are having supply issues to in order to process the test, and this is not unique to North Carolina. This is happening across the country. So we have a number of ways in which we're trying Teoh attack the problem. So first is that we need federal help and we're trying to work with our federal partners both to understand how we can get the supplies that we need here. Ah, to North Carolina, particularly to places like Charlotte in our main hospital atrium that could be doing a lot more testing if they had those those supplies. The second is to work on diversifying the number of labs that we have here. So partnering up some of the collection sites with labs that may be smaller but have capacity to turn them around. And then the third is thinking about using different types of testing that maybe other tests that that still detect the virus but use different techniques to do that, so we don't have as much strain on our supplies. That's all work that's underway, though. It will take us a bit of time, particularly on the last one to try to figure out how to do different types of tests. That is still science that is evolving as we go forward here from in terms of making sure that folks have access to the free testing all this month, we continue to put up additional mobile test sites in about 300 of them in a about 100 different ZIP codes. We actually just added even more over the course of this week, you can find those free testing sites on our website at the Find My testing site, um, tool. That's on our website. They are labeled as free, so we encourage folks to take advantage of those and will continue to try to a ramp up testing availability as well as those turnaround times. Thanks. The next question is from the low beard with North San media. We got along a mike went to me for council. Mexico, Guatemala. Many people lost jobs, heart problem for pay, the rent for the medical council are you have a help The family on the person in this pandemic For the people on the Guatemala and Mexico. Thank you for your question. Off course. We are aware that many of those jobs in the Mexican community has bean on. And we we have some resources that they consulate for a support. This in time, this difficult time on, of course that you know, and the government's off. No, Carolina already are working with five Latino communities, and they can help in these. The sense on we can refer them to support on that. You know, always. The North Carolina government has been taken some action that to support if they can't pay them, some of em, they'll some other issues that they kind of run just now. But always, we are ready to help them. Thank you. Thank you for the question. Yes, we're very concerned with a a lot off Guatemalans and Latinos and Hispanics in the country of loss of jobs. And but it's, you know, uh, through this crisis, you realize how important the community support ISS and all the organizations and community have not let us down there. Picked up on supported each other, which I think it's a very important that a lot of organizations that we have been working closely together to help these families. We have a partnership with the, um, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. People that have lost their job in one area can try to find another job in a different area, not where they work where, but in a different industry that is, uh, have on opportunities right now. So we're trying to, um, uh, help. Anyway, we can't, uh, with resources or with other opportunities as well. Thank you. Hi. This is like sea with wcnc. Charlotte, My question is for a Dr Cohen. Mecklenburg County has restricted alcohol sales past 11. PM Our restaurants don't essentially turn into bars, but there's still a lot of concern that people will gather in other places. Do you think this alcohol restriction will actually actually make a difference? Lexi? Thanks for that question, I think, is I I look around the country to states that have ah, there. Viral infections are are really accelerating the things that they closed First they had to go backwards from their reopening. The thing that they close first were bars Ah, second were Jim's third words indoor dining at restaurants. Um, right, what they're trying to get at our indoor places where that we know by the evidence that there is more viral spread. So I very much support the actions folk took in the Mecklenburg area to make sure that we are living up not just to the letter of the law, but the spirit of what the executive order was, which is not toe have folks congregating in a bar like situation, even though they may have been a restaurant earlier in in the evening. S o a za governor mentioned the other day were supportive of of municipalities and counties going further to protect their community than we have, maybe with creating a baseline of restrictions for our state. I think it is too soon to tell how that will impact the numbers, but I think every bit helps. I think the message we're trying to convey today is that we know folks are weary of this virus. We know folks want to get back to school and toe work into the activities that they love, and we have tools to be able to do that. It's the three W's. It's wearing the face, covering its waiting six feet apart in washing hands. And the reason we repeat it so often is that unfortunately, we don't have other tools yet to fight this. This virus, we don't have treatment. We don't have a vaccine. We need to use the three W's as our tool to reignite the economy and protect public health at the same time. Thanks. The final question today will be from Bernice Analogue on with Univision, HUH? Are visit of Bernie's Mulligan Organization on distance for Dr Tone. The government already granted pounds for four Hispanic organization and what one is people are you considering provide most songs for punctual aid for on the community, immigrants that have active help? You were a little you broke up a little bit towards the end, but I think you were asking about the five organizations that were working community organizations that we're working with. Bernice, do you want to say that part again? Yeah. My question is, if you are considering to provide more funds four, um, organizations that can help documented in grants you don't have access to help service. Sorry about that. Much clearer um so, you know, I think what we've been talking about through through this last half hour has been the importance of focusing. Resource is on our Latin access Hispanic community because we know they have been disproportionately impacted by this virus. So we're trying to do everything from making sure we're getting the word out. And everyone knows about the three W's to making sure that we are surging testing availability. But we also know an important part of this is making sure folks can stay home and isolate and get access to the care that they need. We have a wonderful network of community health centers and other providers who have been able Teoh, Ah, help our communities who may not have have insurance or access to care, and so were we continue to work with them. But I think this is It speaks to the ongoing problems that we have here, the high uninsured rate that we have in in North Carolina. One of the reasons is we did not expand Medicaid. These air folks who are working hard most of the time two or three jobs, not none of those jobs offer health insurance. Um, and so they are are without health insurance. I think one of the ways in which we can really improve our ability to respond to this crisis is to expand access to insurance coverage. And we can do that without investing any state dollars. Weaken. Just bring federal dollars here to help us Fight Cove in 19 and to help folks access. Ah, the coverage that they need. Now we're doing without that tool. We're doing everything we can tow, leverage, federal dollars, and make sure that we can get everyone access to the care, the testing, the isolation supports that they need. But we need to make sure we're using every tool that is out there. And we are not using one of those tools right now, and that's Medicaid expansion. So that's gonna be something you're gonna continue to hear me talk about the governor talk about as we work to continue to fight Cove in 19. All right with that, I just wanted Teoh. Thank my friends and the counselor generals both from Mexico and Guatemala, for their partnership in this for continuing to share important messages. Um, and to make sure that all those in the Latin X and Hispanic communities. Know how much that we care about them and want to make sure they heed these warnings today about Cove in 19 and and to take care and to stay Well, all right. Thank you all.