Reading Latino residents see high rates of coronavirus infections

Written by on August 24, 2020

Reading Latino residents see high rates of coronavirus infections

By Chloe Nouvelle

August 24, 2020

“Michigan Guard conducts COVID testing in Sturgis & Battle Creek, MI” by Michigan National Guard is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The CDC recently released new data on the number of pregnant women in the U.S. who have tested positive for COVID-19 – showing the virus is disproportionately affecting pregnant women who identify as Hispanic or Latino.

WLVR’s Chloe Nouvelle reports on what doctors are seeing locally.

The national figures appear to be in line with what doctors are seeing at a federally supported community health center in Reading. Latinos are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than other ethnic groups.

Dr. Karen Wang is a pediatrician at berks community health centers. They run a covid testing site in Reading, where 80 percent of children in the school district are Latino. 

Dr. Wang says her testing site has an eleven percent positivity rate. The rest of the county is at five percent.

“Latinos here in the US are at increased risk of working in situations where they’re more likely to be exposed. So more of them are essential workers working in the service industries working in health care – agriculture in our region,” said Wang.

Dr. Wang says rapid testing is crucial to protecting families from this virus. But she says at some points her health center was waiting two weeks or more for test results. Which she says made them almost useless.

“When people have to wait as they have recently, you know, 10 days to two weeks to get a test result back. It’s not very helpful for making decisions about what they do as a family.”

And doctors say there’s still a lot of unknowns when it comes to how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and infants longerm. 

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