Digital Exclusive: Outreach, engagement key in pandemic

Coronavirus
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Hispanic Chamber say engagement within the Hispanic community can improve

ECTOR COUNTY (YourBasin) – Ector County data shows 70% of the coronavirus cases are among the Hispanic community.

With well over 1,000 cases in Ector County, the Hispanic community suffers the most from Coronavirus infections.

“The last census told us we had about 61% Hispanics in Ector County,” says Mayor David Turner in a Facebook Live last Tuesday. “I have to think it has to be something that’s cultural.”

While Benjamin Quiroz, Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says low-income Hispanics deal with underlying health conditions as it is, that risk increases amind the Coronavirus pandemic.

“They are not being advised on how to properly use those face coverings and how to social distance,” says Quiroz. “I don’t think there is a good chunk of information that is engaging to the Hispanic population that does not understand necessarily what’s happening.”

I asked Quiroz if the City of Odessa devotes enough resources to Spanish speakers in the community and he believes there could be more of a presence.

“Whenever there is Facebook post in Spanish, those are good but it’s about engaging,” says Quiroz.

Boxes are being checked for the City of Odessa but some still remain blank for the Hispanic community within, Quiroz says.

The City of Odessa currently posts COVID updates in English and Spanish and they also have a spokeswoman who does Facebook Live videos in Spanish.

Though the chamber has good intentions helping the community and businesses, they face struggles themselves. The chamber receives no funding other than membership fees from businesses.

“Through the Hispanic Chamber we are supposed to be the conduit for those businesses in our community and providing them resources and it’s very difficult to do that,” says Quiroz. “It’s difficult to get that message out to the Spanish speaking only business owners because there’s not a concentrated effort or investment in that effort.”

Quiroz states that Hispanic owned businesses throughout the city that don’t know how to navigate through the pandemic with Abbott’s new executive order on face coverings. With business facing potential fines, Quiroz ask how exactly is that message being conveyed to the Hispanic community.

“How’s it being conveyed so they can stay in business, so they can keep the jobs they are providing, so they can continue to serve their customers and the community,” says Quiroz. “Who is giving them the information and who is providing them the resources? It’s not really that evident out there.”

While the chamber faces their fair share of dilemmas, Lowe’s has donated N95 masks to the chamber which they will distribute at to businesses in the fututre.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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