Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Local Leaders Urge Immigrants To Access Public Health Resources Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

A box of food prepared at a food bank distribution in Petaluma, Calif. is sho...

Photo by Eric Risberg AP

Above: A box of food prepared at a food bank distribution in Petaluma, Calif. is shown in this undated photo.

KPBS Midday Edition Segments podcast branding

Local elected officials on Thursday encouraged immigrants to access government health care and other community resources as COVID-19 continues to spread in San Diego.

Aired: March 19, 2020 | Transcript

Local elected officials on Thursday encouraged immigrants to access government health care and other community resources as COVID-19 continues to spread in San Diego.

“We want our immigrant community to know that services are out there and they shouldn’t fear to use it,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

RELATED: Coronavirus And The Workplace: What You Should Know About Your Rights

Coronavirus: Quick facts

  • What is coronavirus?
    The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a virus that can infect animals and humans. It causes a range of respiratory illness, fever, cough and in more severe cases can cause pneumonia and even death.
  • What are the symptoms?
    The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Get all coverage →

Government Resources

Medical providers are required to offer care regardless of immigration status, he said. “No one should be afraid to ask for help.”

Fletcher reiterated anyone who needs to get medical help should go get it, including getting tested for COVD-19 if they need it. Immigrants, regardless of legal status, will not be asked for documents, he said.

RELATED: San Diego City Council Passes Moratorium On Evictions

State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said immigrants and refugees should not be afraid to access government resources because of the Trump administration's “public charge” rule, which is a White House policy that bars citizenship to immigrants and refugees who take advantage of public assistance programs.

“This is what we know for sure,” she said. “You can access unemployment insurance without affecting your future citizenship status.” That includes paid family leave, temporary family leave, she added. Those programs are not a “public charge” because they have been paid for by employers, she said.

Families can still access food from the food bank and pick up free lunch from schools regardless of documentation or immigration status, Gonzalez said.

RELATED: Telehealth Can Help During Coronavirus Pandemic But Health Clinics Can't Charge For It

Several community leaders were also there asking the public to not spread fear and xenophobia during the crisis.

“Our children are the first to pick up on that and spread it without knowing what it means,” said Lee Ann Kim, founder of Pacific Arts Movement and a former news anchor.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.