As part of a partnership with the Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHIRLA) and the city of Long Beach, dozens of emergency medical technicians conducted COVID-19 tests among low-income and undocumented residents on Saturday.
With fear of the unknown on their faces, dozens of nervous residents arrived at Washington Middle School in Long Beach yesterday to be examined by health technicians Mark Tabi and Bronson De Guzmán.
“I was afraid that they would bite me hard,” said the boy Evan Mejía, 11, who underwent the test, along with his sister Vanessa, 13, and his mother, María, a housewife originally from Jalisco, Mexico and neighbor of Long Beach.
The mayor of that city, Robert García, launched a new COVID-19 testing strategy to reach undocumented and underserved residents.
“As far as we have seen, Latinos and African Americans have the highest rates of infection,” Councilor Mary Zendejas told La Opinion.
“It’s sad, but in the Latino culture there is mistrust. They do not feel comfortable [going to be tested] and, furthermore, they are afraid that they will be asked something related to their immigration status and that is not true ”, and he emphasized that no information related to that topic is requested .
As of September 25, Long Beach had 11,798 positive cases of COVID-19; 44 people were hospitalized and 245 have died since the start of the pandemic.
Of the total of 809,000 COVID-19 cases in California, 61% correspond to the Latino population (that is, 283,6000). However, this community only represents 40% of the total population of the Golden State.
Mayor Robert García himself saw that disparity in contagions reflected in his person. He lost his stepfather and mother to the coronavirus and hopes the new mobile testing model will influence minority communities to replace fear with trust.
His message was echoed by Hilda Ortiz, 58, of Guerrero, Mexico, who arrived accompanied by her husband Javier, 60, from Chihuahua. They own a grocery store in Long Beach.