NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – In total almost 6,200 Arkansans have tested positive for the virus 10.2% were Hispanic.
But it’s the recent uptick in positive cases coming from that community that has state leaders concerned.
Data reported Tuesday, showed out of the 150 new community cases – 42% of people testing positive were Hispanic.
“Obviously Benton and Washington County have had a more significant increase in recent days we see it also in the Hispanic community as well as in the poultry industry and there’s a connection there,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson also mentioned a total of 301 cases are from poultry plants, 44 in Washington County, and 69 in Benton County.
“In one instance there was a van taking workers to the worksite well the van was the one that had a positive case and that contributed to it,” Hutchinson said.
Community Clinic’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Berner says the increase in cases could include factors like more available testing.
“We’re seeing an increase in really all of populations and communities but that’s been a newer group that’s had an increase in those positive coronavirus cases,” Berner said.
He also said work environments can create risk like in the poultry plants.
“Those are all going to be risk factors – large groups, closer proximity,” Dr. Berner said.
But the Director of Hispanic Women Association of Arkansas, Margarita Solorzano, says many people still may not feel comfortable getting tested.
“There’s a lot of fear among the Latino community because of the messages we hear from the white house that are geared to scare the people,” Solorzano said.
She says there also financial concerns like missing work or expensive hospital bills.
She and Berner say providing accessible information on the pandemic is key in controlling the spread.
“Over the past week there were different efforts to reach out to the Latino and Marshallese communities and that may reflect in the results of today’s numbers,” Solorzano said.
“It’s definitely a concern, its something that we need to be very proactive in getting that information out, and additional piece we’ve been doing is following up so you get tested whats the appropriate follow up,” Dr. Berner said.
Hutchinson said he’s asked the Department of Health to devote more of the marketing budget to target minority community.