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Nearly half of all Wake County's coronavirus cases are from Latinx community

Hispanics make up 10% of the population in Wake County but are nearly half of all coronavirus cases in the county.

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Maggie Brown
, WRAL multiplatform producer
RALEIGH, N.C. — Hispanics make up 10% of the population in Wake County but are nearly half of all coronavirus cases in the county.

"As we test more residents we notice a concerning trend," Greg Ford, Chairman of Wake County Board of Commissioners.

"COVID-19 is impacting the Latinx community more than any other ethnic group in our Wake County population of about 1.2 million people," he said.

This trend is not unique to Wake County, he added. Data shows that the Latinx population across the state is disproportionately affected by the virus.

As of mid-July, the Latinx community made up 44% of cases where ethnicity was known -- even though Hispanics only make up 9% of the state's population, the governor's office wrote in a press release Thursday.

National trends that show the Latinx community is testing positive at a higher rate than any other group.

Wake County is teaming up with Spanish-speaking media outlets to try and get the message to people who may not speak English.

Ford said that the county translated their coronavirus information page to the top 10 languages most commonly spoken in Wake County, including Spanish.

“I am very concerned about the health of our Latinx/Hispanic community who have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen on Thursday.

Half of the new COVID-19 contact tracers hired by the state are bilingual, according to a press release. Cohen said the state is prioritizing hiring staff who are bilingual.

Durham is seeing the same problem in its case numbers. June's coronavirus numbers showed that more than 75% of all coronavirus cases were within the Latinx community.

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, chief executive of El Centro Hispano, works with Durham to help inform Hispanic residents about how to protect themselves from the virus.

She said the problem goes beyond language.

"People need to be not only able to speak Spanish, but also to be bicultural, to understand our community and even the way we ask the questions," Rocha-Goldberg said. "[For] people with our communities, it’s more complex with the fear to share the information and everything."

Wake County has now setting up drive-thru testing sites across the county to attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As of July 16, the county has tested around 8,000 people for the virus at nine locations.


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