Catholic San Francisco Article by: Christina Gray and Lorena Rojas
The unequal impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic and Latino communities has been noted with concern and alarm across the country, but the disparity is especially pronounced in affluent Marin County.
People who identify as Hispanic or Latino account for 16% of the county’s population but more than three-quarters of those testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the latest county data. Hispanic and Latino residents also account for more than half of the county’s COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Of the more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases in Marin, nearly two-thirds are in the city of San Rafael, where the low-income Canal neighborhood is home to many Hispanic and Latino families who support the surrounding economy with limited ability to shield from the disease but elevated risk because many jobs are “essential” ones that require physical presence.
Canal Alliance, a nonprofit organization in San Rafael, is one of those organizations. The agency provides legal services, education and food to immigrants in the Canal but has recently included health services including coronavirus testing, executive director Omar Carrera said.
“People in poor neighborhoods are more exposed to the virus,” said Carrera.
Canal Alliance has become a bridge between the Canal community and the Marin Department of Public Health, coordinating free, walk-in COVID-19 testing on Wednesday and Friday from 1-3 p.m.
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