HOUSTON – Hispanic people are getting sick and dying from COVID-19 more than any other racial group, Mayor Sylvester Turner warned Wednesday during a press conference.
According to testing and data, COVID-19 disproportionately affects marginalized populations, including Hispanic and Black people, Turner said.
Since early March, more than 4,800 Hispanic people tested positive for COVID-19 in Houston, according to the Houston Health Department. That is nearly 20% of more than 25,000 confirmed cases in Houston.
However, in Harris County, the racial disparity is inflamed.
Hispanic people make up more than 40% of those who tested positive, according to the Harris County Public Health department. Latinx people accounted for 6,100 of the nearly 14,000 confirmed cases, health officials said.
“COVID-19 is impacting the Hispanic community heavily right now,” Councilmember Robert Gallegos said.
During the press conference, Gallegos shared that a prominent member of the Hispanic community, Joe Gonzales, the owner of Mamacita’s Mexican Restaurant, died Wednesday from COVID-19 related complications.
In response to the health disparities in the Hispanic community, the Houston Health Department launched a bilingual campaign to inform the underserved community about the coronavirus and recommended health measures.
Turner stressed that Hispanic people should get tested for COVID-19 when necessary and said everyone can be tested for free without fear of deportation.
“No one will be asked about Immigration status or documents,” Turner said. “If you hear a word they are, we need to know.”
New testing site
Houston is partnering with United Memorial Medical Center to open a new testing site targeting residents near Second Ward and Denver Harbor. This will also alleviate testing demand at the HCC Southeast College.
The new, free testing site will open Monday at the HCC Felix Fraga Academic Campus near Navigation Boulevard, Gallegos said.
COVID-19 daily update
On Wednesday, the Houston Health Department confirmed 204 new COVID-19 cases in Houston. However, Turner said the numbers are lower than expected due to what he believed was a glitch in state reporting. The city also confirmed one new COVID-19 related death, a Hispanic man in his 40s who passed on May 16.
The latest COVID-19 update brings Houston’s total to 25,600 cases and 245 COVID-19 related deaths. More than 4,700 people have recovered, according to Houston Health.
“Coronavirus is spreading, and collectively we have to do everything we can to slow the progression of the virus,” Turner said.
Here is the full press conference from June 8, 2020: