Hispanic community makes up high percentage of Virginia COVID-19 cases; leaders call data 'alarming'

Posted at 9:46 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 07:04:08-04

HAMPTON, Va. - The numbers are alarming.

“I’m shocked and definitely surprised. It’s a very high percentage,” said the founder of the Hispanic Resource Center, Liz Torres.

According to the Virginia Department Health, the Hispanic community is about 10% of Virginia’s entire population but make up about 46% of coronavirus cases where ethnicity was provided. That’s more than 10,000 positive cases in Virginia.

“My concerns are: Are we able to communicate with them properly?” asks Torres.

A question and the reason she created the Hispanic Resource Center in Hampton.

“Some don’t understand the severity of situation with the virus,” she adds.

Torres says the language barrier is one of the reasons the coronavirus is hitting the Hispanic community. She also believes fear plays a role.

“A lot of Hispanics that are in their process of their citizenship cannot provide that documentation,” she adds.

With the resource center, she’s able to connect the community with testing sites that don’t require identification.

Related: Disproportionate numbers appearing in African American COVID-19 cases in Virginia; doctor explains

Torres says when people come into the center, she wants them to leave with information and things they can use to keep safe, like reusable masks.

“We want to make sure everybody has one,” adds.

She says it’s the least she can do to keep them safe.

“They have cleaning jobs, they work construction; we have medical jobs, we have officers, doctors,” Torres adds.

For more information on how to support the HRC and donate to their food drive, click here.

The HRC can be reached at (757) 927-HOLA (4652). It's located at 3000 Incubator Road, Suite 102 in Hampton.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.