Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, families nationwide have been worried about catching the virus and spreading it to their loved ones. For many hispanic families in Kern County, the concern is not necessarily if they will catch the virus, rather it is when they will catch COVID-19.
The US Census Bureau states, Latinos make up 50.2 percent of the Bakersfield population. Latinos also make up a large majority in COVID-19 cases. Hispanics make up nearly 61 percent of the COVID-19 cases in Kern that have been identified, according to Kern Public Health.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanics are four times likely to become hospitalized when contracting COVID-19 compared to non-Hispanic persons. The CDC also reports, Hispanics are almost three times as likely to die from COVID-19 complications. Latino dense populations in Kern County like Arvin, Delano, Lamont, and Mcfarland have a range from 11.88 percent to 14.24 percent of COVID-19 positive cases in their populations reported to date.
For many families of Kern County, self-quarantining per the CDC guidelines may not be feasible. According to the CDC, factors that may create this obstacle include occupation. Many Hispanics are essential workers and work in retail, food-service, farm workers etc. This makes them more susceptible to COVID-19.
The CDC also reports, “Some people from racial and ethnic minority groups live in crowded conditions that make it more challenging to follow prevention strategies.” Household size that may be larger than the amount of bedrooms, bathrooms are shared is not uncommon for minority groups. Thus, if one family member comes home with symptoms, it creates a harder task to stay isolated from other family members.
Kern Sol news spoke with Michelle Corson, Program Manager and Public Relations Officer for Kern County Public Health, and asked what recommendations will the department give to Kern County families who are susceptible to COVID-19 and have become exposed or tested positive for COVID-19.
Corson gave the following tips when to isolating a household member who is sick,
- Keep 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often and do not touch your face.
- Have the sick household member wear a cloth face covering when they are around other people at home.
- Keep people at higher risk separated from anyone who is sick.
- Have only one person in the household take care of the sick person. This person should be someone who is not at higher risk for severe illness.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, like countertops, tables, doorknobs, keyboards and bedside tables. Use soap and water and household cleaning sprays and wipes according to the label instructions.
- Open windows to bring fresh air into home.
- Only allow visitors into the home that absolutely need to be there, like a caregiver.
- Do not share personal items like phones, dishes, bedding or toys.
- If household members must share a bathroom with someone who is sick, have the person who is sick clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the shared bathroom before entering it to clean and disinfect or to use the bathroom.