South Bay Leaders Tackling COVID-19 in Latino Communities

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One of the most shocking numbers highlighting the impact COVID-19 has had on the Latino community is the death rate among people between the ages of 18 and 34.

In California, Latinos died at six times the rate of white people in that age group.

Cassie Martinez, a 29-year-old from the South Bay, passed away from COVID-19 in October. She had no underlying conditions and contracted the disease along with her mother and brother. A week after experiencing symptoms, she was admitted to the hospital and put on a ventilator.

Martinez is one of many Latinos in San Diego County who have lost their life to COVID-19. It's why leaders in the South Bay are doubling down their efforts to reach this community.

In Chula Vista, Mayor Mary Salas said they have trained 27 firefighters to vaccinate people. So far they have given shots to 5,000 of the hardest to reach people in the area.

"It's always difficult to communicate with everyone, but we use any method that we can. Hi-tech, low tech which, means sometimes just going out and passing out fliers, you know, door-to-door," Salas said.

In National City, Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is launching a 100 day outreach campaign to dispel misinformation many in the Latino community have about the vaccine.

"If we pound the pavement, literally go door-to-door, let people know where they can go to get the vaccine, the times, the locations, where and how they can get there within their own community, I'm not talking about taking a bus three hours... I'm saying go to your fire department, or go to your community center or go to your local elementary school," said Mayor Sotelo-Solis.

In California, Latino people accounted for 46% of the state's COVID-19 related deaths, but they make up 39% of the population.

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