DENVER (CBS4) – Latinos make up about 20% of the population in Colorado, yet in some areas, they are suffering double their share of COVID-19 infection. To gain a better perspective about why, CBS4 reached out to the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado.
“I would say at first when I first started with the symptoms it was mostly like a sore throat, consistent headache, so personally I thought I had strep throat or just a mild cold,” said Juliette, an employee at Latino Community Foundation of Colorado.
Juliette initially tested negative, but later ended up having to go to the hospital, and so did her dad.
“I believe the reason why it’s hitting the community so much is because we’re essential workers,” she said.
It comes as no surprise to Juliette that Latinos make up a higher percentage of COVID-19 cases in Colorado.
“Every Latino is either working in the back of a restaurant or in the hospital, like my mom, cleaning rooms being exposed to this virus every single day,” she said.
Juliette told CBS4 that culturally, Latinos have a strong work ethic, which can put their health at risk.
“I work two jobs, part-time at a restaurant and the other, Monday through Friday. I work at a non-profit here in Colorado, so I’m constantly busy, I’m moving from one job to another. On top of that I’m also a student at Metro State,” she said.
A 2017-2018 study from the US Department of Labor revealed that Hispanics are the least likely to be able to work from home, at only 16%.
“When we all contracted COVID-19, I called the hospital’s hotline for human resources and I was trying to get my mom quarantined from her job,” she said. “Unfortunately, the person from human resources said that our policy is that if you’re an essential worker regardless of what position you have here in the hospital you still have to work.”
That’s why resources like the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado helps employees learn about their rights, and how they can minimize their risk on the job.
“I can get you the help you need, and living through it, I know what it’s like,” Juliette added.
Juliette hopes her experience can shed light on why Latinos are being hit the hardest, and why many in the community should be more cautious about the risks surrounding COVID-19.