Kings health officials say Hispanic population twice as likely to be COVID-19 positive

By The Leader Staff
Kings health officials say Hispanic population twice as likely to be COVID-19 positive

The Kings County Department of Public Health, in a press release this week, stated that the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is disproportionately affecting the Hispanic population of Kings County.

In the release, county health officials stated that 66 percent of residents that contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began identify as Hispanic/Latino while making up 55% of the total Kings County population. Officials say this is consistent with State and national trends.

In Kings County, the high COVID-19 cases in the Hispanic/Latino population can be attributed to several factors specific to the Central Valley. Multi-family living arrangements and a migrant seasonal workforce have likely contributed to the disproportionate impact of the disease. Also, farm labor's seasonal nature makes it so that individuals must continue working while sick to earn enough income to survive.

A recent analysis of Kings County COVID-19 positive patients demonstrates that Hispanic/Latino residents are two and a half times more likely to work in the foodservice industry, including food processing and packing facilities. The average age of Hispanic/Latino Kings County residents that test positive for COVID-19 is 36 years old compared to 39 years old for non-Hispanic residents, a considerable difference.

Hospitalization rates further demonstrate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Hispanics/Latinos, which make up 72% of all hospitalized cases in Kings County. Kings County identified this issue and then partnered with World Champion Boxer Jose Ramirez to share COVID-19 safety measures with the county’s Hispanic/Latino residents.

The Kings County Department of Public Health (KCDPH) is collaborating with the Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) to support essential workers residing in Kings County that need financial and other types of support to quarantine safely in their own homes. The Kings Cares program will support an entire household where a member has tested positive for COVID-19 to ensure adherence to quarantine orders and limit the disease's spread. 

KCDPH currently provides free mobile COVID-19 testing to Kings County residents. This service continues to be available through partnerships with employers and trusted community agencies seeking to provide a free and reliable testing resource to the community. The agency’s goal has been to test as many essential workers and families as possible and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in these critical infrastructure workplaces and the surrounding community.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Therefore, Kings County residents need to take all precautions to avoid spreading the disease, especially as we approach the flu and holiday seasons. Always wear a mask or facial covering when out in public; wash your hands with soap and water frequently; stay home if you are sick; consolidate shopping trips to avoid multiple outings; avoid large gatherings, and always observe physical distancing. Lastly, residents are encouraged to test frequently, whether symptomatic or not, at one of the numerous testing sites throughout the County. Visit for current information, guidance, and to find a testing site near you. 

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