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Hispanic community hit hardest by COVID-19 in Magic Valley

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 12:41:41-04

MAGIC VALLEY — Nationwide, the Hispanic and Latino community are seeing a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases. In the Magic Valley, it is no different, with some counties seeing more than 60% of the cases among the Hispanic and Latino communities.

The South Central Public Health District released data that shows 30% of the people with confirmed or probable cases in the Magic Valley are Hispanic or Latino. They say there are three factors to consider when it comes to the reasoning why the numbers are disproportionate: average household size, cases in food processing plants, and the community having a distrust in information about COVID-19 when it is shared by government agencies.

Some of the Hispanic community members tell us they also believe the high number of cases is due to a lack of support for the Latino and Hispanic community.

"Some of the businesses and I won't be specific, but one, in particular, tells its employees, if you are sick, if you don't feel good, no problem you can go home, but I can't guarantee that you will have a job when you come back. So what are they doing with everybody? They're scaring us," Janet Guitron, Salon owner, said.

One source, who works at a dairy and wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job, says she has seen many of her coworkers get fired for having to take time off due to being sick.

"If you feel sick, you have a chance to go, go get tested, but if you test positive, then you have to do the whole 14 days the quarantine, but then you're not sure to come back to work. So then what do we do? We go to work regardless if we're sick or not, and we have to go to work. We can't just stop."

Guitron says the Latino and Hispanic community must stay informed, but the language barrier makes it difficult.

"Unfortunately, not everyone understands the language, and so that's a plus, or how Americans say 'the cherry on top'. We don't turn on the TV and if we do what? We don't understand, so we need to get the message somehow," Guitron said.

The Health District says it will not inquire about Immigration status while looking into confirmed or probable cases.

Some of the quotes in this article were translated from Spanish to English.