Miss. Department of Health holds COVID-19 virtual meeting for Hispanic community

Virtual town hall addresses COVID-19's impact on Hispanic Community

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Hispanics make up a small portion of Mississippi’s population. Even so, they have seen a significant impact from the coronavirus.

The Mississippi Department of Health held a town hall meeting Thursday night aiming to educate the Hispanic community.

“If you see [the graph] 5.8 percent of our cases are among Hispanic individuals. While the percentage of the population of Hispanics in Mississippi is very small, there are very many cases,” said State Health Officer Doctor Thomas Dobbs.

With the help of a translator, dozens of Hispanics in Mississippi tuned in using Zoom to learn more.

It’s a conversation that Reverend Roberto Mena said is needed.

“[The Hispanic community] didn’t have a lot of information in Spanish in the beginning. Until April, there were not any posters in Spanish. So for them was very difficult to understand the English news or the English ads with the details on how they have to protect themselves or their families,” said Mena.

Apart from a lack of knowledge, Reverend Mena believes other factors might play into the spread. He said many Hispanics work in chicken plants where they cannot practice social distancing.

Some workers, though testing positive for the viruses, allegedly continue to go back to work to support their families.

If a family member gets sick, it’s hard to stay isolated.

“If someone, for example, is sick, they have little houses sometimes where two families living in the same house. So how to isolate someone in that family? it’s very difficult,” said Mena.

Reverend Mena was grateful for the town hall, but fears that sticking to virtual meetings leaves some of the community behind.

He hopes the health department will eventually come to cities like Morton and Forest to help Hispanics in need.

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