North Carolina, Raleigh- More than eight months after Covid-19’s first outbreak was registered in North Carolina, the Latino community today continues to represent one of the groups with the highest number of positive cases in the entire state.
Data from the Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) shows that 28% of all infected people today are Hispanic, and that the ethnicity of more than 112,000 positive cases remains unknown.
In this context, and confronting the high number of positive cases in Hispanics – as 10% of the state population, they represent 28% of known cases-, Martínez Bianchi highlights fact which exacerbates the situation of contracting COVID 19 even more to the Latino community: not receiving medical attention in a timely manner.
“We see that there are people who, for fear of going to hospital, for fear of cost, do not seek medical attention,” he stressed, and asked the community “not to have that fear, because it’s worse to die at work or while we’re at work, and not give them the necessary oxygen support that would save that person’s life. “That is, one should not wait until the last minute if a person has Covid-19 symptoms.
“Nowhere is it going to turn you away because you don’t have documentation or want a work visa or license to come to work here. It is very conditional that admission to hospital, emergency and hospital cannot be refused if necessary, “he said.
In addition, Martínez Bianchi also emphasized the fact that if a person is in the process of applying for or intending to do so in the future, the fact that they receive medical attention for a coronavirus cannot affect their process.
“There is nothing to do with the perceived risk of the immigration issue. The immigration office does not try to hold Latinos arriving at the hospital, on the contrary, this space is so necessary for people to access care because it is the best solution for the health of the community ”, continued the doctor. And he went further by asking Latinos to report medical refusals if they existed: “There are very clear rules against hospitals that deny access to the emergency, if a person needs to be seen in an emergency they will be see it and if there are people who are turned down, they don’t see it and we want to find out like the Department of Health because it’s illegal ”.
To be informed is to take care
Dr. Martínez Bianchi confirms that “the most important thing is to inform ourselves as a Latino community of the importance of using the mask, as much as possible, that is, wash your hands, keep your distance and use the masks.”
“The disease is serious to some percentage of people and not others, the point is that no one knows, neither you nor I nor anyone will know the cause that will touch them. That’s the problem with this virus, ”said Martínez Bianchi, who is also a professor at Duke University.
“I am a vital worker in medicine, since March 12 I have been seeing patients with Covid-19 and yet, in five months, I have not been infected, why, because I am very strict in the use of the medicine a mask, even when I’m working with little distance from other people, when I approach the patient that I’m close, I have the mask on or the face cover too, that is, using the mask really saves lives, it’s not something that seems to us, no, it’s true, there are studies that prove it, ”says Martínez Bianchi.
Rural workers and Covid- 19
Among the most vulnerable groups in the Latino community are rural migrant workers, people who come to North Carolina for a set period of time on a temporary work visa under the H2A visa program.
“If we work outdoors and at a distance of more than six feet, from two meters, we do not need to have the mask on, but the most important thing is that when they are carrying on buses, in vehicles, they are wearing their mask because that’s where more is going to be transmitted, that is, when they are in closed places next to each other. I can’t stress enough the importance of this, ”said Martínez Bianchi.
As for rural workers, the doctor emphasized: “You are vital workers. North Carolina’s economy, to a large extent, depends on the work you do every day. So, we want to know that if they do not get the necessary access to healthcare when they have an illness, we want to know if they are having difficulty with the employer who is not allowing them the necessary rest also “.
Coronavirus and free trials in North Carolina.
Dr. Viviana Martínez Bianchi
By: Patricia Serrano and David Miller