Latinos make up majority of COVID-19 deaths in California, Valley counties

Recent data from the Fresno County Public Health Department shows Latinos account for 52% of all COVID-19 deaths.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- State data shows more than 19,000 California Latinos have died of COVID-19, far more than any other race or ethnicity group.

The impacts to the group are disproportionate, because while Latinos make up 39% of California's population, they account for 46% of all COVID deaths.

Recent data from the Fresno County Public Health Department shows Latinos account for 52% of all COVID-19 deaths.

The percentage is even higher in Kern County, at 60% (compared to less than 30% for whites).

Race and ethnicity death statistics weren't readily available in Tulare County, but Latinos there make up more than half of the county's 45,000 total COVID cases.

"What we're reporting of the number of Latinos in Tulare County that do have COVID and have passed on from COVID is very substantial," Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero said.

Valero says resources and education are the keys to controlling the spread of the virus and reducing the number of lives lost in the local Latino community,

He expects Tulare County and its community partners will expand Latino outreach efforts in the months to come.

Once vaccine supply increases, he'll push for the county to track distribution by zip codes, so no segment of the population is left behind.

He also wants to see the doses delivered directly to farmworkers.

"Tulare County does have a community coalition where we have gone out to these various communities on the fringes, on the peripheries," Valero said. "And we have provided those resources in addition to testing. But that again only goes so far. We need additional support from the state."

Valero says more than 10 of his Latino friends and family members have died from the disease.

It's why he wears a mask, and encourages others in his community to do the same.

Too often he says, he sees farmworkers going into local markets without one.

"It's just safety and making sure that we see the brother, we see the sister, the friend, the neighbor, the family member," Valero said. "Let's get COVID-19 out of the way."

Experts say Latinos may be at greater risk for the virus due to increased opportunities for exposure within households or in the work place, as well as unequal access to health care resources.

Officials at the California Farmworker Foundation say their organization is hard at work preparing for farmworker vaccinations in Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties, and that includes setting up vaccination clinics at work sites.
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