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Health Districts Expand Outreach, Testing as COVID 19 Cases Rise Among Latinos

A woman in a lab coat, googles and mask at GenetWork scans an item.
Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM

Statewide, Latinos make up about 9% of the population, but 45% of COVID-19 cases. The Richmond and Chesterfield Health Districts are working with the CDC to better address these disparities. Richmond Health Director Dr. Danny Avula says hispanic and Latino residents often work in essential jobs like childcare, healthcare and food services. 

"The reality is that so many of our front-line residents are doing the front line work," Avula said.

Avula says economic conditions mean Latino families often have bigger households, and if they’re undocumented, they may not seek medical help because "there is so much understandable mistrust of government."

The local health districts are expanding testing, using contact tracing and providing resources for families and individuals who test positive for COVID-19. 

"We have the opportunity to put [people] up in a hotel if you can’t isolate effectively at home.  We have resources throughout our philanthropic community and through the CARES Act to be able to support income for people," Avula said.

A team of six bilingual epidemiologists  and outreach specialists  from the CDC are in Richmond to provide support to the local health districts. 


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