Gainesville Latino Community Comes Together To Address COVID-19 Outbreak

A health worker displays the packaged swab used on patients. The coronavirus is hitting Hall County’s Latino community particularly hard.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press file

Hall County recently emerged as a new hot spot for COVID-19 cases.

As of Friday, health officials confirmed 2,265 COVID-19 cases in the northeastern Georgia county, which is often called the “poultry capital of the world.”

And the virus is hitting the region’s Latino community particularly hard.

About 30% of Hall County’s population is Hispanic, according to census data, but they make up more than half of all positive COVID-19 cases tested by Northeast Georgia Health Systems.

That’s a problem local Latino community leaders hope to address.

On a recent edition of “Closer Look,” Dr. Antonio Rios, a clinician at Northeast Georgia Health Systems, joined host Rose Scott alongside Norma Hernandez, the leader of a local COVID-19 task force and head of the Northeast Georgia Latino Chamber of Commerce, and Vanesa Sarazua, founder and executive director of the Gainesville-based Hispanic Alliance of Georgia.

They discussed the steps local organizations have taken to address the spread of COVID-19 and how their community came together after being designated a “hot spot.”

“I think that what this crisis has brought on is more awareness of the disparities that exist today, more understanding of the living conditions and working conditions of people in the community,” Dr. Rios said.

To listen to the full conversation, click on the audio player above.