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Minority populations make up more than half of the positive coronavirus cases in Douglas County

Posted at 10:22 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 01:14:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Minorities make up more than 65 percent of the coronavirus cases in Douglas County, according to the Douglas County Health Department.

In an afternoon press conference Douglas County Health Department Director Dr. Adi Pour said 69 percent of the cases come from minorities, up from 26 percent a month ago. Of this group, 15 percent are Asian, 15 percent are African-American and 39 percent are Hispanic.

"That population is only 13 percent of our general population so we definitely see a health disparity there," said Dr. Pour, when discussing the amount of positive coronavirus cases in Omaha's Hispanic population.

"This is incredibly important. I think what we see is a disparity in people's health and it is very pronounced now," said Andrea Skolkin, CEO of One World Community Health Centers.

Looking at a map of coronavirus cases in Douglas County, three of the zip codes with the most cases are in South Omaha, a largely Hispanic community. Skolkin believes cases are spreading in the Hispanic community at higher rates include income levels, living environments, and job professions. These jobs include meat packing plants, where there are currently 392 cases are connected to the nine plants in Douglas County.

"They are hard working and working in jobs where it is really hard to be separated enough distances," Skolkin said.

Coronavirus isn't just a minority issue, or an elderly issue. There are 618 cases in Douglas County between those aged 24 to 49-years old, making up 51 percent of the cases in the county.

At the press conference Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert also urged people to not ease up on safety practices.

"The virus is still here, it is still very deadly and we don't want a resurgence and that could happen," Stothert said. "Follow all of those responsible health preventive habits and help prevent the spread and we will get back to normal sooner than later."

Skolin added part of the reason the virus is spreading in the Hispanic population is due to a lack of access and resources available in Spanish in Nebraska. 3 News Now has a Spanish-specific broadcast each day to help inform the Spanish-speakers in the area.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman's story in the above video.

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