Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday the city is stepping up efforts to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases in the city’s Latino community by increasing outreach and testing in Boston’s Hispanic neighborhoods.
“We are seeing higher than average positive [test] rates in the Latino community,” Walsh said at his regular COVID press conference. “Latino residents make up 20% of the population here in the city of Boston but they are 28% of our cities overall COVID cases. And that inequity has grown during the course of the pandemic.”
Walsh said the Boston Resiliency Fund is providing $400,000 in grants to the Greater Boston Latino Network and other local nonprofits and health centers to boost outreach to Latinos.
“The best way to do this work is through grassroots organizations that have long-standing authentic relationships in the communities,” he said.
Walsh created the Resiliency Fund to gather charitable donations to support the city’s COVID response; it has so far collected over $30 million.
Rev. Sam Acevedo, a member of Walsh’s COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force, said actual infection rates among Latinos may be higher than reported because some Latino families have experienced symptoms of COVID, but were afraid to get tested because they are not legal residents.
“Latino COVID-19 cases, unfortunately, are on the rise in Boston, and especially for the 21 to 39 age group,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo said the grant recipients will be distributing more masks in Latino neighborhoods and launching a bilingual public awareness campaign to promote mask wearing among the city's Spanish-speaking population.