Experts say language barrier among reasons Latinx community is most impacted by COVID-19 in state

ATLANTA — One of the biggest communities being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia is the Latinx community.

Hispanics make up about 10% of the state’s population, but they also make up about 13% of all positive COVID-19 cases in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez spoke with Dr. Chiraq Patel with Wellstar Health System, who said there are three primary reasons for this.

“No. 1, there is a lack of access of care, where there could be appropriate testing. No. 2, there is multigenerational housing in many of these communities where social distancing is challenging. And No. 3, the information around social distancing and hygiene and mask wearing often comes in one language,” Patel said.

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Patel also said a language barrier in also part of the problem.

“Since most medical education and information comes in English, we need to do a better job in getting it in dual languages, or multiple languages. That way we can have primarily Spanish speaking populations, receive this information first-hand, not by translation. And then there’s also an opportunity for us to partner with large Spanish congregations, large Spanish communities who can really take this information to their communities,” Patel said.

“Why don’t those communities go out and find the info or trust those people who have the information?” Estevez asked Patel.

“There is often distrust with community of health providers. There is also often a lack of access to these resources and often, there’s not internet access everywhere. There are often internet deserts in these communities,” Patel said.