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Majority of York County health center's COVID-19 cases from Latino population

Family First Health is seeing a lot of COVID-19 cases in its latino community, and it says more detailed data on ethnicity could help lower those numbers

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — A York County health center said it's seeing the most cases of COVID-19 in its Latino population, and detailed data might help lower those numbers.

As of this month, Family First Health has tested a total of 1,082 patients for COVID-19. Of those tests, 204 were positive for the virus. 77% of them have identified as Latino.

CEO Jenny Englerth said there could be a number of reasons why the percentage is so high, including where the Latino population tends to live and work, as well as increased pre-existing conditions.

 "At Family First Health, we certainly understand that vulnerable populations are at greater risk during COVID and came into the pandemic with greater health disparities," Englerth said.

From the beginning, Englerth said FFH set up a good system to collect data, which, she says is important in helping to mitigate the spread among groups of ethnicities.

"We've also learned more and more about the barriers that people have, that we thought we understood going into this pandemic," Englerth said. "But understanding even more how they're applied and how they're impacting folks during this pandemic."

But their in-house data, isn't enough. There are two things the health care system is advocating for:

The first is better, more detailed data on ethnicity across the state from the department of health and other government agencies.

We looked at the department of health's website to see what kind of data it had on ethnicity and Latinos.

According to the COVID-19 PA Dashboard, only 8,400 cases of COVID-19 come from the Latino population in the entire state that we know of, but about 73,000 cases don't have an ethnicity reported - which means there could be a lot more unaccounted for.

The second the the health center is advocating for, is associated contact-tracing

"When we're talking about under-served or vulnerable populations, there are long-standing trust issues with systems, and authority with healthcare providers," Englerth said. "And so contact-tracing really needs to be done in a community based-way."

Englerth also mentioned that the more contact-tracing is done, the more effectively and efficiently a vaccine can be distributed when it becomes available.