Mecklenburg County’s public health department reports Latinos make up more than a third of the county’s coronavirus cases. And the majority of those cases are among people under 40. The county is concerned about the trend and is increasing its outreach to Charlotte’s Latino community.
The county is reaching out to Latino-owned businesses and partnering with local organizations to spread messages about coronavirus prevention and safety measures.
One of the organizations is Charlotte’s Latin American Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Rocio Gonzalez says the rise in cases among younger Latinos is largely due to economics.
"They are essential workers," Gonzalez said. "They are unable to stay home. They have to work long hours... Most of them have large families, and if they’re not families, because of the high cost of living, you have to have three and four and five roommates to be able to make ends meet."
Gonzalez said messaging is less of an issue for younger Latinos as most are bilingual and use the internet and social media. She cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing only 1 in 6 Latinos have jobs that can be done at home. She also said Latinos and other vulnerable groups are less likely to be able to afford masks and other supplies.
Mecklenburg County officials say they're also working with the Faith and Health Latin Coalition and a number of Spanish-language outlets for paid messaging. The county has reported 7,117 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, the highest number of any county in North Carolina. It also reported 133 total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. All of the county's COVID-19 trends have risen over the past month, including its number of new daily cases, hospitalized patients and percent of tests that are positive.
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