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The Latino Community in East Chicago Hit Hard by Covid-19

Rocio Villasenor

The Daily 219 News Correspondent

Northwest Indiana top health officials from Lake County, East Chicago and Gary discuss their departments COVID-19 preparedness from testing, contact tracers, to educating the public on safety precautions. Beginning July 27, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has ordered Hoosiers to wear masks in public.

This is the second in a three-part series on the Lake County efforts to control

East Chicago

Diana Garcia-Burns, East Chicago’s Health Department Director and family nurse practitioner, said that the numbers are looked at daily to determine the impact to the city. They are shared on the city’s health department website.Information is gathered from the state and hospitals in the city.

A WBEZ news update on July 8, reported that East Chicago leads all areas in Northwest Indiana with the highest percentage of positive COVID-19 cases per population at 1.36 percent.This is following the national trend of communities with high Latino populations contracting coronavirus at a higher rate. The population of East Chicago is just over 30,000 people with 35% being Latino.

Burns said the numbers are trending upward and have been impacting both African American and Latino populations. As of July 27, the Latino population with positive cases is 433 and the African American is 190, according to East Chicago’s health site. On July 20 there were 645 total cases. On July 27, there were 706 cases. That was an increase of 61 cases in seven days.Burns also said testing has increased.

The department nurses have been updating the contact tracers since the pandemic began. As a department they have tried to educate the community with the safety precautions like social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks. There is a city ordinance to wear masks in East Chicago. (When did that go into effect?) At the moment, they only supply masks and hand sanitizers to the local governments and departments, but not to the general public as demands are high.

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