MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Making sure underserved communities have access to testing and other resources has become a focus during this coronavirus pandemic.
Members of local hispanic and latino groups said there are additional factors that need to be considered.
“Not surprising, like many of these things, communities of color and communities that are vulnerable are often underserved,” said Mauricio Calvo, executive director of Latino Memphis.
As Shelby County leaders released additional COVID-19 data by race and ethnicity, advocates for the latino community said additional challenges must be considered moving forward.
“We know anecdotally that just a lot of people are not being tested, or they didn’t know where to get tested, or there were additional barriers, for example, is someone going to speak Spanish at the testing center and what documentation do I need to bring,” Calvo said.
County leaders have recently added additional testing sites in underserved communities.
Of the nearly 20,000 COVID-19 tests administered in Shelby County, a little more than 1,100 were in hispanic or latino populations.
Calvo said many of the people he serves have children who are American citizens, but the parents are in the process of becoming one, which restricts help they receive.
“The stimulus package is only benefiting those who are American citizens or permanent residents,” Calvo said.
That’s an additional concern when talking about the financial impact of COVID-19.
“That’s the kind of barrier we’re seeing, where many people who were simply not able to receive the stimulus, despite the fact they’re taxpayers,” Calvo said.
He said the only way to get through this is to increase outreach and come together.
“At the end of the day, this is not about being black, white or latino,” Calvo said. “We all need to pull in this together.”