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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Data from San Diego County shows Latinos, Hispanics account for more than 56% of the region's COVID-19 cases

The CEO of the Chicano Federation said this data is not surprising.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County health officials on Thursday reported 110 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths, raising the county's totals to 4,429 cases and 165 deaths.

The fatalities reported Thursday include two women and five men. The percentage of deaths among the Latino population continues to rise, up to 41.2% of all deaths, as the mortality rate among the white population has dropped below half of all deaths.

"A lot of that stems from the structural inequities that have been in place for a very long time. Including that Latinos are more likely to have underlying health conditions such as heart diseases, obesity, asthma," said Nancy Maldonado, Chicano Federation CEO.

The nonprofit also attributes the higher number of COVID-19 cases in the Latino community to greater housing density and more reliance on public housing.  

"When you have a disproportionate representation of Latinos as part of the front line essential workers that are low wage, you mix that with lack of affordable housing which means multiple families living together - increasing the risk of exposure and then a failed safety net in the county of San Diego, this is what you are going to get," said Roberto Alcantar, chief strategy officer. 

A doctor at Family Health Centers of San Diego is seeing the higher rates of infection among South Bay residents as well.

He said it may be a language barrier and a socioeconomic issue. 

"If you have a job that you can't telecommute to, and you still need to be in to do your job, then you're at a much higher risk of becoming infected," said Dr. Christian Ramers.

The Chicano Federation is stepping up its programming and advocacy to get the message out and meet the emerging needs of families during this time.

"It's the systematic failures in our community. It is the underfunding of our safety net and our health and human services that has lead to this crisis," said Alcantar.

The Chicano Federation said there is no evidence that border crossings contribute to the increased rates of COVID-19 in the South Bay.

If you would like to help the federation's efforts in the community, financial donations are greatly needed.

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