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Cincinnati Health Department increases COVID-19 testing in Latino community

Three days of free tests in East Price Hill this week
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Posted at 8:34 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 20:35:07-04

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Health Department is amplifying its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Latino community. Starting Thursday, it will dedicate more resources to testing in Price Hill.

“Please, this is an emergency situation,” said Rosa Cama.

Cama, a communicable disease nurse for the Cincinnati Health Department, says there are least two barriers to overcome when notifying some Spanish speakers about new coronavirus mandates and alerts:

Language barriers and fears of deportation.

“Our job is basically to save lives. We do not care about the immigrant status at all. This is a pandemic, an emergency,” said Cama, part of a contact tracing team.

"It’s a war between us and the virus.”

Out of 263 Hispanic people tested here so far, 7% received a positive result, according to the Cincinnati Health Department.

National data shows Hispanic people are more likely to die from COVID-19 at a younger age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Santa Maria Community Services, a non-profit, keeps track of why.

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Luz Schemmel of Santa Maria Community Services

"A lot of them are essential workers, so they have to go out and work, and they are more exposed,” said Luz Schemmel with Santa Maria.

Schemmel said her team will be at the testing site Thursday at Holy Family Church to hand out food and protective gear to families.

"If you don’t have enough means to buy food, it’s hard when you have to buy masks also,” said Schemmel.

This will also help people stay home from work if they need to quarantine, Schemmel said.

“We want to make sure that the people, if they need food to be dropped off at their house, those families get connected," Schemmel said. "We have been distributing masks, hand sanitizer ... some of those basic needs. We are helping with rent assistance, utility assistance."

The Cincinnati Health Department will conduct three days of free testing in Price Hill:

  • Thursday and Friday: Holy Family Church, 3006 8th St. West. Food distribution will happen here on Thursday only. Hours: 10 to 2 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 1` p.m. Friday.
  • Saturday: Price Hill Recreation Center, 959 Hawthorne Ave. No food distribution. Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.