ARTICLE: Juntos en la pandemia de COVID-19 (together in the COVID-19 pandemic): health-care professionals and the Latinx community

AUTHORS: Sandra E ZaehKathleen R PageZackary D Berger, Laura Daly, Katherine Hartman Phillips, Tina Tolson, Michelle N EakinPanagis GaliatsatosEmily Brigham

JOURNAL: Lancet Respir Med. 2021 Jan;9(1):13-15. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30519-1. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

The burden of illness from COVID-19 is strikingly disproportionate among racial and ethnic minorities in the USA. This disparity is well illustrated in Latinx populations, who bear 2·8 times the number of cases and 4·6 times the age-adjusted hospitalisation rate from COVID-19 compared with non-Hispanic whites. As health-care professionals caring for Latinx patients affected by COVID-19, we share here what we have learned and highlight critical considerations for the health-care system and community during the ongoing pandemic.

The first line of defense for COVID-19 care is infection prevention. For Latinx immigrants, a number of factors pose challenges to prevention. The lack of language-concordant care, and in particular the lack of reliable and consistent public health information in Spanish, potentially delays critical messaging at a time when recognition of symptoms and precaution application is vital to reduce transmission. The development and dissemination of public health messages related to COVID-19 in Spanish is critical to COVID-19 prevention among Latinx with limited English proficiency. A well established model of care is to leverage the expertise of promotoras, or bilingual and bicultural community health workers trusted by the community. This model includes active linguistic and culturally tailored community outreach by medical professionals and via partnerships with community leaders. Use of bilingual contact tracers might also help build trust within Latinx communities and reduce viral spread when cases are identified.

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