More Spanish speaking contact tracers needed to track coronavirus, inform public

Posted at 3:19 PM, Sep 11, 2020

Latinos are more likely to have to stay in the hospital and are also more likely to die from coronavirus, according to experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A number of factors contribute to a higher risk, including language barriers and not receiving important information in their native language.

That's why communities across the country are focusing on finding bilingual contact tracers.

Community Care of North Carolina has a team of them.

“We do try to find individuals that match the community, because that's what builds the trust, and people are more willing to talk to people that are like them, and their community,” said Christina Page with Community Care of North Carolina. “So, we try really hard to try to find bilingual individuals who can go out into the community.”

Not only are people in the Latino community more willing to speak to a contact tracer, it's also easier to speak about their own health.

“It is hard for the community to communicate through interpreters and that is a barrier for trust. It is easy for somebody, if you are talking in your language, to connect and express how you are feeling and what are the problems that you have,” said Wendy Pascual with Community Care North Carolina.

Contact tracers aren't just finding people who have been exposed to coronavirus. They're often giving people information they had not received before and also connecting families with resources that help them get food and pay for utilities.

There's also need for contact tracers who speak other languages, but the biggest need is for people who speak Spanish.

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