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San Diego County Launches Latino Outreach Campaign For COVID-19

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San Diego County officials announced additional outreach campaigns Tuesday to the region's Latino community, which has been the hardest-hit group in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Governor Gavin Newsome said today, the rate of positive tests in California has remained stable at 7.4 over the last 14 days. But he said the number of those testing positive and those dying is creeping up, standing in front of a warehouse full of personal protective equipment. Use some said the state has already distributed over 300 million masks and has contracts for hundreds of millions more. And coming months, he said over 400 California based manufacturers are making mosques, but production is not yet where it needs to be. He said, the state is using 46 million mosques a month.

Speaker 2: 00:35 Then we've been able to get out some 297 million procedure masks already that we've been able to distribute into those essential workers into those sectors of our economy, to counties and cities, large and small

Speaker 1: 00:52 Latinos in San Diego and across California have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A UCLA study shows Latino Californians in their fifties and sixties are dying of the virus at more than five times. The rate of their white counterparts in San Diego, the latest numbers reveal that Latinos represent 45% of COVID-19 related deaths and 60% of infections, even though they're 34% of the county's population this week, the County announced it's ramping up outreach efforts and releasing ads like this one to try to raise awareness.

Speaker 2: 01:26 I knew that [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 01:38 Barbara Jimenez with the counties health and human services agency. She's been spearheading the counties outreach efforts and South Bay communities. Barbara, thanks for being with us. It's my pleasure. Thank you. So to start off, tell us about why Latinos are disproportionately being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look into this, really what it points to is Latinos mostly are more likely to occupy high contact professions, such as essential or frontline workers who have really continued to work during the pandemic. And oftentimes do not have the option of working remotely, the County of San Diego health and human services agency. We have been working for many years under our live well San Diego vision with our community leaders and providers and residents to really look at those broader social determinants of health, um, that not only play out in what we're seeing in COVID-19 outcomes, but really across all health outcomes. Could you be specific about the social determinants of health that you're referring to? Yes. Um, so when we look at, um, the chronic disease and some of those indicators, as it relates to diabetes and some of the work we've been doing in the community to look at, um, the cost of housing and that impacts, um, how many families or how families are able to meet those housing costs, um, some the more dense

Speaker 3: 03:00 Population, dense communities, sometimes the need to be able to, uh, are there the requirement to use public transportation, um, sort of all of that connecting into those impacts in the community

Speaker 1: 03:12 Address these different health outcomes. Tell us what the County is doing right now to ramp up the education and outreach efforts.

Speaker 3: 03:20 We have been, um, really focused from the beginning of the pandemic, uh, I would say in all communities of color, um, but this is really evolving. So there was definitely a need to, to intensify it, I would say. Um, and that is including, um, this new higher level intensification plan really was about launching a whole new TV radio online and signage campaign that was really gonna focus and describe the protective measures and, um, community resources.

Speaker 1: 03:50 And I understand you're also adding, uh, testing sites. What else is the County doing right now?

Speaker 3: 03:55 Uh, so we have increased in national city to two location, which includes a sundae location. We've also increased, just added, um, on last week, a location in Imperial beach. And we also have, uh, sunny Seattle, um, which is a state, uh, location. And then we have two and Chulavista one of them,

Speaker 1: 04:15 The most important things to get control of this virus is, uh, the contact tracers. Uh, what is the County doing about contact tracers in this committee?

Speaker 3: 04:24 Yes, it's, it's really exciting. So we have increased countywide, the contact tracing capabilities with the different levels. So we have the disease investigators, and then we have those contact tracers that actually, um, call individuals, call people who have tested positive for COVID-19, um, and, and also their close contacts so that we can really help educate, inform and provide resources. But then the next level of that, which really connects to our communities, um, with those highest needs are, uh, is an innovative, uh, community health worker Matata model, which is, um, the County has contacted through a contracted through San Diego state university. And they are in the priceless, um, through and working with a community advisory board to bring on a hundred initially to start community health workers and these community health workers. And in addition, San Diego state university students all live work and, and are very connected to the community. They're going to help us with that contact Tracy. Um, so it's, it's a really exciting and innovative opportunity.

Speaker 1: 05:35 No, Barbara, just to go back to the point you were making that many in this community cannot really afford to stop work if they're going to support their families. And this is one of the problems, isn't it? That if you get tested positive that could put them out of a job and put their livelihood in jeopardy, how do you overcome that problem?

Speaker 3: 05:53 Yes. Um, and, and we recognize and realize that that is a, could be a barrier is a barrier. And so we have a couple of different things, really messaging to our community about how important it is to isolate or quarantine. Um, but also trying to get the word out just in terms of, if you do not have a place to isolate or quarantine, um, what's the temporary lodging that's available, so you can really protect your family, um, and then really working with, um, our community partners. And I just want to really emphasize that, you know, we are really fortunate to be able to have such strong networks in the County of San Diego and really encouraging organizations, um, for all of us to work together, to fill these gaps, um, and to share, to get these messages out to our communities.

Speaker 1: 06:46 So getting the message out is one thing, but then helping people who are put in dire financial straits as a result of perhaps testing positive, or, um, being unable to give up their job or not having any where they can isolate or not having healthcare good healthcare, all of these inequities are things which are a big barrier to the County addressing this issue. I know in San Francisco, there's a program called right to recover that distributes money to people who test positive to help make up for their lost wages due to COVID. Has San Diego County considered any of that kind of, um, approach?

Speaker 3: 07:24 Well, I, there's a number of, um, discussions and items that are coming before our board of supervisor in August that really are looking at, um, some of the additional care Zac funding and where that might be. Um, in addition, there's ongoing conversations with community partners and there's also, um, ongoing discussions about the opportunity, uh, to leverage the trusted messenger focus in, within some of our communities. Um, so yes, that, that is an ongoing discussion.

Speaker 1: 07:54 You to respond to the Chicano Federation, which has been quite critical of how the County is addressing this health inequity and the president that's president Nancy Maldonado issued a statement saying that a they're still not seeing a response from the County leadership that shows the right level of urgency. How would you respond to that? Um, allegation that it's really just more of the same or too little too late.

Speaker 3: 08:15 So, um, we, uh, have been in communication with the Chicano Federation. Um, and I would say that, um, we need everyone's support. We look forward to working with organizations. Um, we encourage any organization that feels like there's specific gaps, um, to really help us in getting those messages out. Um, and again, we cannot do it alone and we really, really, um, appreciate and, and like the opportunity to continue to work with all, um, those trusted messengers and those organizations that have been doing tremendous work in the community.

Speaker 1: 08:52 We've been speaking with Barbara Jimenez, who is the director, regional operations for Sandra. You count is health and human services agency. Thank you for your time, Barbara. It was my pleasure. Thank you. Tomorrow on mid day edition, we'll hear more from the Chicano Federation about what more they think the County should be doing to urgently address the disproportionate rate of COVID related illness and death in the Latino community.

Speaker 4: 09:18 [inaudible].

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.