Thursday, July 9, 2020
Blaine County Bucks the Trend of Hispanics with COVID
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Herbert Romero has been leading the effort to keep the Hispanic and Latino community in Blaine County informed about COVID-19.
   
Friday, May 29, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Blaine County is bucking the trend when it comes to the percentage of Hispanic and Latino residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Nearly a third of confirmed and probably cases of COVID-19 in South Central Idaho are among Hispanic and Latino residents, according to ethnicity data released Thursday by South Center Public Health District.

But in Blaine County only 18.64 percent of cases have been Hispanic or Latino, even those groups make up 22.5 percent of the population.

Camas County also is bucking the trend. None of its cases have involved Hispanic or Latino residents, even though they make up 6.5 percent of the population.

The number is disproportionately high in other counties, following a pattern seen across the nation.

Hispanics/Latino, for instance, make up 27.4 percent of Cassia County’s population but constitute 54 percent of the confirmed COVID cases.

Gooding: 29.5 percent of population but 63.41 percent of cases

Jerome: 36.4 percent of population but 61.44 percent of cases

Lincoln: 30.40 percent of population but 78.79 percent of cases

Minidoka: 35.80 percent of the population but 65 percent of the cases,

Twin Falls: 16.9 percent of the population but 20 percent of the cases.

“Nationwide we’ve seen a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases in Hispanic/Latino and other minority communities, and our district is no exception,” said Melody Bowyer, the director of South Central Public Health District. “Access to health care, safe, and adequate housing, health education and economic stability have long been the important social determinants of health outcomes.

“There is much to be learned from this crisis, and the uneven disease burden of COVID-19 on different communities will perhaps be one of the most profound lessons. It’s apparent now more than ever why we must try to bridge these gaps.”

Health District officials say there is some uneasiness within the Hispanic/Latino community when information about COVID-19 is shared by a governmental agency. But officials are quick to point out that they are not involved in investigations into citizenship and will not inquire about immigration status when looking into cases of COVID-19.

“What we care about is taking care of our residents and controlling the spread of this virus,” said Bowyer.

The District is working with local community leaders to reach out to minority with factual information about COVID-19. The community information toolbox is at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2lgxoespit3zjr0/AAAzCqGEx0Pbqt8dSiyV-gsIa?dl=0

A Spanish hotline is at 208-737-5965.

 

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