A medical staff member treats a patient suffering from coronavirus disease Intensive Care Unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A coalition of community-based organizations with strong connections to the Latino Community joined forces to establish the San Diego Latino Health CoalitionThe initiative addresses the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on the Latino community and the long-term effects associated with the pandemic.

To increase access to vital information and tools, the organization has established Resource Centers throughout the County. The San Diego Latino Health Coalition will communicate ongoing guidance on COVID-19 prevention, testing, contact tracing, and any available vaccine to save lives. Coalition partners include the Chicano Federation, San Ysidro Health, South Bay Community Services, MAAC, Mid-City CAAN, Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), SAY, San Diego, City Heights CDC, Barrio Station, and MANA de San Diego.

“The Latino community has been hard-hit by the pandemic; and there are several socio-economic factors that have made them particularly susceptible to contracting the virus,” said Chicano Federation CEO Nancy Maldonado. “We formed the San Diego Latino Health Coalition to combat this health crisis and be the advocates our Latino community needs to overcome challenges brought by COVID-19 and to keep our communities safe, informed, and healthy.”

Latinos account for 62.8% of total COVID-19 infections and 47.7% of deaths from COVID-19 in San Diego according to recent data from the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. Furthermore, Latinos in San Diego County are more likely to work in front-line jobs, ride public transit, are more likely to have underlying conditions, and are more likely to live in multigenerational homes according to demographic data from SANDAG.

The San Diego Latino Health Coalition will increase awareness of COVID-19 safety measures and educate the community on important information through various communications channels such as community engagement sessions, radio advertising, television, and video-driven outreach, printed materials, social media, direct mail, and more.

“Educating the community about the importance of protective and preventative measures, access to medical care, and what to do in case of illness is a first step in stemming the infection rate among Latinos,” added Maldonado. “Our communities must work together to protect ourselves, our families, and others.”