A team of health workers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in Manassas this week conducting a door-to-door COVID-19 survey of the area’s Latino communities, which have been especially hard hit by the ongoing pandemic.
“We recognized the number of cases in the Latinx community, as well as hospitalizations, and we wanted to determine what we needed to do to help limit transmission in this population,” Prince William Health District Director Dr. Alison Ansher said Wednesday.
Latinos in the Prince William Health District, which encompasses Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, account for a disproportionate number of the area’s reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
As of Wednesday, Latinos made up 67% of COVID-19 cases and 63% of hospitalizations in the local health district while representing only 26% of the area’s population.
The CDC team, along with local healthcare workers, are administering the 30-question survey in Spanish. The questions, while generally related to healthcare and COVID-19, have not been disclosed. The Prince William Health District declined to provide Prince William Times with a copy of the survey.
A press release issued by the City of Manassas last week said the information collected “will help the health professionals at the Prince William Health District and the CDC understand what resources are most needed by the community.”
Ansher said the results of the survey “will be very specific to our community,” but that the information gathered could also be used by “other communities with a similar target population.”
It’s not only in Manassas that Latino communities have been impacted disproportionately by the pandemic. The City of Richmond and Chesterfield County health districts collaborated with the CDC to conduct community surveys of the Latino neighborhoods in early June.
Gov. Ralph Northam addressed the lopsided impacts of COVID-19 on Latino communities in Virginia at a June 18 press conference. Northam said Latino residents account for 45% of all cases in Virginia for which demographic data was reported, and 35% of hospitalizations. Hispanic and Latino people make up only about 10% of the state’s overall population.
“Clearly, Latino communities are disproportionately affected by this virus,” Northam said.
Northam added that Latino residents are more likely to work in jobs with higher risk factors and are less likely to have health insurance.
“These risk factors are compounded within the Latino undocumented population,” Northam said.