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Hispanic Leaders Say More COVID-19 Outreach, Communication Needed

Lex Talamo

Yakima Herald-Republic

Jul 24, 2020

Hispanic leaders raised concerns about COVID-19's impact on their community statewide, saying improvements are needed in communication, outreach and contact tracing.

The issue came up twice Thursday, first during a stakeholder meeting hosted by the Latino Civic Alliance and then again during the governor's Thursday afternoon news briefing.

Statewide, 44% of COVID-19 cases are among people who are Hispanic, who are 13% of the state's population. Hispanic people made up 30% of the state's hospitalizations, and 13% of deaths, according to information on the state Department of Health's website. Yakima County's numbers by ethnicity haven't been updated since late June.

Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer, joined the Latino Civic Alliance call on Thursday to answer questions.

"We have been very concerned about these disparities," Loft said. "We have focused a lot of our work on Eastern Washington communities that have had very high rates of the disease."

Those communities include Yakima, an agricultural center with a high number of essential workers who are Hispanic.

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