MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – Minority populations in Multnomah County, including immigrants and refugees, continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, according to county health leaders, who gave an update on Tuesday on what’s being done to combat infection rates.
The Multnomah County Health Department is partnering with community organizations to make sure that everybody in the county, including people who don’t speak English or don’t have access to the internet, is receiving the information and updates they need about the coronavirus.
Multnomah County posted a chart online to break down the county’s COVID-19 cases to date into racial and ethnic groups. The chart shows that minority groups are seeing higher rates of infection–particularly Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, whose percentage of total COVID-19 cases is about three times the percentage of the overall population.
Outreach groups are using interpreters, organizing test drives, and getting creative with communication, like using WhatsApp, to reach immigrant and refugee communities for contact tracing or general education.
Advocates say the virus can spread rapidly in these communities because many live in multi-family homes.
“When one person is infected, it’s hard to do social distancing, because some of the family members don’t have any other place to go, so it spreads quickly,” Djimet Dogo, associate director Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, said.
Health Officer Jennifer Vines during the update on Tuesday also took a moment to share a warning about the July 4 holiday, urging people to stick to their households. She said that the fewer people involved in celebrations, the better.
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