COVID-19 contact tracing misunderstood in California’s Latino communities

California

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — A new study has found that systematic barriers keep San Diego County’s Latino community from participating in and fully understanding “contact tracing,” which helps notify people who may have come in contact with COVID-19, urging them to get tested.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has disproportionately affected people of color, especially Spanish-speaking communities. Of the more than 44,000 San Diego COVID-19 cases to date, Latinos account for nearly 66% and nearly 50% of all COVID-19 associated deaths in the region.

The Chicano Federation teamed up with UC San Diego to try and figure out why Latinos were not embracing contact tracing, which is seen by many as a tool to stem the spread of the virus.

Interviews were conducted with nearly 40 residents from San Diego’s Latino community in Spanish and English by bilingual interviewers who were trained by UC San Diego health sciences faculty.
Participants were asked about their knowledge and perceptions of the virus.

According to the study, several key findings emerged:

  • San Diego’s Latino community feels strongly about their social responsibility to protect their family and community.
  • Linguistic and culturally tailored outreach to Spanish-speaking communities and high-incidence areas throughout the region is key.
  • Outreach efforts must be transparent and proactive about data privacy concerns and financial implications of the costs associated with testing.
  • Barriers to isolation are structural and will require structural solutions.
  • Build on community strengths by endorsing the need for community
    responsibility and care.

“It is up to all of us to take care of each other,” said Nancy Maldonado with San Diego’s Chicano Federation. “As part of that, we have to include Latino communities and address these barriers that exist when it comes to COVID-19.”

The study was founded by Falck, an ambulance company is San Diego.

“We care about our community, we want to serve the entire San Diego community especially areas that have been hit hard by COVID-19,” said Jeff Lucia, Falck’s Director of Marketing.

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