RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has awarded grants to five local North Carolina organizations to help address the disparate impact COVID-19 is having among the state’s Hispanic and Latino communities.
The Association of Mexicans in North Carolina Inc. (AMEXCAN), El Centro Hispano, the Latin American Coalition, Qué Pasa Media Network and True Ridge will each receive $100,000 to help support disease prevention measures in high-risk Hispanic/Latino communities. The five organizations selected to partner with the agency represent the eastern, central, western and major metropolitan areas of North Carolina.
Measures to be addressed include prevention practices such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and frequent hand-washing; access to COVID-19 testing; engagement with contact tracers; participation in quarantine and isolation measures; and coordination with NCDHHS messaging around these efforts.
“Hispanic/Latino North Carolinians are strong and resilient, and we are investing in that strength,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “We are committed to working with the people on the ground who know their communities best.”
In June 2020, North Carolina saw a sustained increase in its confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the general population, and a disproportionately high percentage of cases statewide are among historically marginalized populations. In particular, North Carolina’s Hispanic/Latino communities are being hit hard by the virus, representing 44 percent of cases statewide (as of mid-June) where race and ethnicity are known.
Many people in Hispanic/Latino communities provide essential services and work in industries North Carolina relies upon, such as construction, child care and food processing. Often, this work is in environments where social distancing can be challenging, health insurance is not provided and for a sick person, staying home could create a significant financial burden. These are all factors that may be contributing to the high rate of COVID-19 spread among Hispanic/Latino communities.
The grants will be funded through the end of 2020 by the North Carolina General Assembly’s Department of the Treasury.
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