Data: COVID-19 disproportionately affecting RI’s Latino population


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — New data released Monday by the Rhode Island Department of Health reveals that nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 cases are within the Latino community, which only makes up roughly 15% of the overall population.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the R.I. Department of Health, said socioeconomic factors could explain why Latinos are disproportionately affected by the virus. She said many Latinos also work in professions that are considered essential.

In response to the number of Latinos who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Hope Clinic/Clinica Esperanza in Providence is ensuring testing is available for the city’s entire population.

“Minority populations already have a higher rate for chronic diseases and that puts them at a higher rate for complications related to COVID-19,” Nurse Director Valerie Almeida-Monroe said. “We really want to make sure testing is available to everyone and that there is a place people are comfortable coming in to get tested.”

Two weeks ago, the clinic opened its own drive-through COVID-19 testing site downtown, according to Almeida-Monroe. She said testing is available by appointment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Almeida-Monroe said the site has been busy since it opened.

“We are working really hard to meet that demand,” she said.

One reason why many Latinos aren’t getting tested for COVID-19, Almeida-Monroe believes, is because of the language barrier. She said Clinica Esperanza has taken that into account for all of its services, including drive-through testing.

“We have been working very diligently since the very beginning to make sure the information is available in English and Spanish, as well as other languages,” she said.

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