Guest column:

Increase in COVID-19 cases among Latinos raises concern

For generations, Latino communities have been deeply and disproportionately affected by a lack of access to health care, affordable housing and employment. Now, as our nation battles the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing just how life threatening these disparities can be.

Nevada is experiencing an alarming rise in the number of Latinos being infected and dying from COVID-19.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, Latinos are dying at a higher rate than any other racial group, even though their hospitalization rate is lower than other racial groups. In Northern Nevada, the Latino population has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Washoe County, yet Latinos only make up 25% of the total county population.

These numbers are extremely concerning. We must find a solution to address not only this tragedy, but also the ongoing disparity in health care that endangers communities of color.

If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, please seek medical care. Community health centers throughout the state offer medical care, regardless of insurance or immigration status. In Northern Nevada, the Community Health Alliance offers quality, affordable, comprehensive health services throughout Reno and Sparks. In Southern Nevada, Silver State Health provides compassionate, bilingual preventive and diagnostic care for underserved and impoverished populations.

Visit the Nevada Primary Care Association website for a full list of Nevada’s Community Health Centers.

Our teams also recently launched bilingual websites, and, with health information and a regularly updated list of resources and programs available to Nevadans to make sure our Latino communities have the help and resources available to them throughout the Silver State.

Essential workers across America, thousands of whom are Latinos and immigrants, are the heroes who keep our supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants and other businesses running during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we understand that many of you are concerned for your health and the health of your loved ones. There are a number of ways each of us can protect ourselves and others to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

This is a difficult time for many but know that we are here for you. Statewide community leaders in Nevada are here to help.

From the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus to the United States Senate, our top priority is your health and safety. Please contact our offices with any questions you have. Our teams are working around the clock to help and guide you to the community resources you and your family need.

Together we can curb the spread of the coronavirus, help save lives and address the challenges facing us head-on to overcome this unprecedented crisis.

Jacky Rosen is the junior senator from Nevada and a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Edgar Flores is a member of the Nevada Assembly, representing the 28th District, which covers parts of the eastern Las Vegas Valley. He chairs the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus.