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Latinx community warned as COVID-19 variant cases rise in San Francisco’s Mission District

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – COVID-19 continues to impact the Latinx community disproportionately and with this so-called California variant appearing in more than 50% of positive tests out of the Mission District, the Latino Task Force says its community must remain vigilant.

More than ever, residents here need to keep their guard up. 

The Latino Task Force says they’re doubling down on education about this variant and how people can protect themselves.

“The story is not always equal when you look at the communities hardest hit,” Jon Jacobo said.

As Jon Jacobo of the Latino Task Force explains, the story told at 24th and Mission Streets testing site is much different than those around San Francisco.

“We know here at our site, 75 to 80% of the people we test with 500 tests a day are people from the Latino community. We know that on any given day, we are capturing 16-45% of the city’s total positive cases a day,” Jacobo said.

Of the positive tests in January, more than half contained a California West Coast variant at this Mission District testing site, according to two new studies that also found the variant to be more transmissible and deadly. 

Jacobo is concerned with this information coming out of a predominantly Latinx community, knowing that many people who live here are essential workers and live in households with more family members under one roof.

“This California strain, it’s just concerning to know that we’re not only grappling with covid from April of last year but that we’re now grappling with something that is more aggressive, something that can impact folks in a much greater way,” Jacobo said.

While it’s not new information that the coronavirus disproportionately impacts the Latinx community, Jacobo says it’s been hard getting the needed resources from the city and state to protect this community. 

That’s why he says testing and education is more important than ever, especially now as we see the virus mutating.

“Were working on a 5th round of messaging, getting information out and explaining to people how crucial it is to continue masking, continue socially distancing from our loved ones as difficult as it is, doing everything we possibly can to be as safe as we possibly can and most importantly if you’re an essential worker and out often, getting tested frequently because if you know you’re positive or even if you’re asymptomatic you will be reducing the spread of potentially 5 people who could have a very dire outcome,” Jacobo said.

The Latino Task Force says that they’re thankful that a private institution like UCSF made this low barrier, testing site possible but now they say it’s time that the city and state act on the data coming out of this site.

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