FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced $52 million would be allocated toward the Central Valley to help slow the spread of COVID-19 – while recognizing that essential workers and Latinos are being disproportionately affected by the virus.
In the Central Valley, Newsom said COVID-19 is spreading disproportionately among essential workers and in the Latino community.
Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner, the assistant director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, has been looking at health disparities in the Central Valley for more than a decade. She says many of those in the southern part of Fresno work essential jobs.
“Because of decades and decades of policies of where people live and can afford to live, what we see is that those essential workers that have to go to work to continue to support their families, that don’t have either the luxury or the cushion income to opt-out to be at home are those that are going to live in the southern part of Fresno,” Pacheco-Werner said.
Fresno County provides cases by zip code — the last time they updated the data was July 17.
While Fresno County’s positivity rate sits at 10.8%, certain zip codes in southwest and southeast Fresno have positivity rates as high as 15%.
Zip codes 94706 and 934725 in south Fresno have positivity rates of 15.3% and 14.4% respectively.
However, zip codes 93720 and 93730 in northeast Fresno have positivity rates of 7.2% and 6.9% respectively. Zip code 93611 in Clovis has a positivity rate of 7.6%.
Pacheco-Werner said many families in southeast and southwest Fresno live in multigenerational households or with multiple people due to economic hardships.
“Any time that we see a crisis like this, it really does peel back, you get to see what’s under the rug in terms of the inequalities that we see across income, occupation, race, language, accessibility,” she said.
COVID-19 related deaths in Fresno County show that Latinos are disproportionately impacted. On July 17, the county had 100 COVID-19 related deaths — 69 were Latinos.
“When people don’t have access to healthcare to begin with, Latinos in our population do not, then they will delay care, and what happens with delayed care is poorer outcomes,” Pacheco-Werner said.
“Those zip code maps tell you that in order for all of us to achieve that healthier outcome of being able to open up schools…we all need to resource those most under-resourced,” she said.