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Fear, language barriers hinder immigrant contact-tracing

Posted at 11:48 AM, Aug 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 14:48:07-04

Only a handful of contact tracers working to slow COVID-19 in 125 communities near Chicago speak Spanish, despite significant Hispanic populations. Churches and advocacy groups in the Houston area are trying to convince immigrants to cooperate when health officials call. And in California, immigrants are being trained as contact tracers to ease mistrust.

The crucial job of reaching people who test positive for the coronavirus and those they’ve come in contact with is proving especially difficult in immigrant communities because of language barriers, confusion and fear of the government. And that is especially fraught given the soaring and disproportionate case counts among Latinos in many states.