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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

San Diego’s Black And Latino Neighborhoods Hit With COVID-19 Triple Whammy

Speaker 1: 00:00 The headlines are familiar by now. Community's hit hardest by COVID-19 have residents who are predominantly black and Latino, but two recent reports also show these neighborhoods in San Diego County are suffering high unemployment, and a big gap in Corona virus testing compared with white neighborhoods. Joining me to break this down is KPBS investigative reporter Claire Traeger, sir. Welcome back to the show, Claire. Thank you. Well, the first report was done by news organizations and looked at major Metro areas. The key finding involved testing. Tell us about that. Speaker 2: 00:32 So this was, um, done by a five 38 and, uh, ABC news. And what they did is they took data from a healthcare company called Castlight health, which is actually the company that provides data to Google maps that they use to, um, to show where you can get COVID-19 testing. And so they analyzed all of those testing sites and compared it with census block data and found that in, um, in communities of color in many major cities, um, there's higher demand on sites for areas where people of color are more likely to live. So black and Hispanic people are more likely to experience longer wait times and understaffed, uh, testing sites. When they, when they're looking for testing, Speaker 1: 01:21 This is a function of people they're being able to get a test at a private lab for a fee. What happens in poor communities, according to the press analysis. Speaker 2: 01:30 So in poor communities, it's more likely to be more of a community test site, not a private test site. Like you mentioned. So here in San Diego County, we have a testing sites set up by the County, but in those, you may have to wait maybe five to seven days even to just get an appointment. Um, and then maybe wait another week, or even I've heard as much as 10 days, uh, to get results, but that kind of varies. Um, you know, there are some anecdotal reports of people getting results from my County site faster than that, but it can be, you know, a couple of weeks at which point it's kind of a useless test. You know, if you're, by that time, you are maybe done with your self quarantine or you've already exposed so many people, if you do test positive versus a day or two day turnaround, which is ideally what you want, Speaker 1: 02:22 What does the County say about the disparity here in the times and the wait times and appointments and everything we're discussing? Speaker 2: 02:28 Sure. So they say, you know, that when, when the pandemic began, basically they tried to put more community test sites in, um, in lower income or more high minority areas. Um, and they do have a walkup test site, um, in Southeast San Diego kind of across from market Creek Plaza. So there you should, theoretically, theoretically, be able to go and get a test on the same day. You don't have to make an appointment and wait. And so they say that, you know, they've always made a pre made it a priority. The issue is that their private test sites that are not making it a priority by being located in more high-income areas, Speaker 1: 03:09 They live now, the second report was done recently by SANDAG the San Diego County association of governments. What did it find? Speaker 2: 03:17 So that report looked at, um, zip codes, uh, for unemployment rates and then for COVID-19 infection rates. And unfortunately, the finding was that zip codes, um, with have that have both the highest number of COVID-19 cases and the highest unemployment rates are in again, um, more, uh, lower income and high minority parts of the County, like South Bay, city Heights, um, Southeast San Diego were more black and Latino people live. Um, and so the five zip codes that were hit the worst by unemployment and COVID-19 are nine one nine one one in Chula Vista nine one nine three two in Imperial beach nine one nine five zero in national city. And then nine two zero two zero and nine two zero two two one, which are both in alcohol phone. Um, and the report also found that black and Latino populations are almost three times as likely to live in areas that have been impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment as white populations. Speaker 1: 04:25 And you interviewed Ray major chief economist at SANDAG. What was his response? Speaker 2: 04:30 Well, so he says, you know, that they, they do these reports because they really want to bring attention to it. Um, you know, alert local officials that, that this is what, what is going on. And he was talking about that, you know, we need, in addition to plans for dealing with these current crises, right now, we need more longterm plans because even, you know, say the pandemic goes away in a year or something like that, the economic impacts are going to be much longer and they're going to continue to hit the same areas. Um, the same areas of the County that the worst, Speaker 1: 05:09 Uh, the Chicano Federation weighed in as well. What was their response? Speaker 2: 05:13 You've been pushing the County for a long time to do more. And they feel like, at least now the County is finally kind of stepping up to that. They've given some they've, uh, done a contract with some different community organizations to set up a community resource center where people can call and say, you know, for example, maybe a contact tracer call someone and they don't really understand, or they are skeptical of, of who's this person from the government calling. So then they can call a community resource center and say, what's the deal with this? Why did this person call me? Or they can help get help, you know, with, um, asking for rent relief, utility relief, um, unemployment, all of those things. So the Nancy Maldonado from the Chicano Federation says, she's glad that the County is doing this. Now. She wishes that they had done it earlier. Speaker 1: 06:06 Yes. Well, it's a fascinating thing and I'm sure we'll be doing a lot more reporting on this as we go along. I've been speaking with KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire Tregaskiss. Thanks, Claire. Thank you.

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Two recent reports show that predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods in San Diego County not only have the highest COVID-19 infection rates and are hardest hit by unemployment, but also experience a significant gap in access to testing.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments