Governor Newsom announced Monday eight Central Valley counties will receive $52 million to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Kern, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare will use the funds for testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine efforts, according to a news release. The State will deploy three Unified Support Teams to the Central Valley to provide hands-on technical assistance. This is part of Newsom’s effort to support California’s essential workforce. In the Central Valley, the virus is disproportionately impacting Latinos.
“The data is clear that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Latinos in California,” said Governor Newsom. “The rising community transmission rates we are seeing, particularly among Latinos in the Central Valley, are concerning. This is alarming and we are taking action.
Statewide, Latinos make up 38.9 percent of the population but 56 percent of the COVID-19 cases and 45.7 percent of COVID-19 related deaths have been identified as Latino.
In Kern County, Latino’s make up 46 percent of COVID-19 deaths, the largest demographic group, the California Department of Public Health reported Sunay.
In Fresno County, Latinos make up 52.6 percent of the population and 65 percent of COVID-19 deaths.
Newsom’s office said of the cases where with no race or ethnicity data, local public health officials estimate that roughly 70 percent appear Latino, thus the current case numbers likely underestimate the total number of Latinos who are impacted by the virus.
In collaboration with local partners, the state will deploy Unified Support Teams into the eight Central Valley counties to support and boost on-the-ground efforts to reduce transmission rates, a news release says.
The teams will work side by side with local public health, emergency, medical, community and business organizations to evaluate on-the-ground needs and develop strategies and interventions to address them.
These assessments could include an evaluation and improvement in testing, contact tracing, disease investigation, data management, public education and surge planning for local health care systems.
Newsom’s office says this mission is similar to the one carried out recently in Imperial County, which included the deployment of state and federal personnel to reduce transmission rates, augment surge capacity at local hospitals and operate an 80-bed alternate care site. Those efforts also reduced the number of COVID-19 patients being transferred out of the county for care. For context, in Imperial County the 14-day case rate dropped 63 percent, from 836 cases per 100,000 to 308 cases per 100,000 people.