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Latino COVID-19 Task Force work to increase access to COVID-19 testing sites

COVID-19 Testing Site Sign
Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 21:07:07-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Latino COVID-19 task force is not only spreading awareness about COVID-19 but it has partnered with organizations and community leaders all around Kern County, to help everyone in the community gain access to resources and testing sites.

As of right now, the COVID-19 task force has helped get over 5,500 people tested.

"Those who are less privileged, underprivileged and underserved in the communities and the areas around us, we are helping our Latino community," said Jay Tamsi, co-founder of the Latino COIVD019 Task Force.

According to public health records, nearly 71% of the Hispanic Latino community in Kern County had tested positive for COVID-19. Now during Hispanic Latino Heritage Month, one group is trying to change that number.

"Hispanic heritage month is really important to us as Latinos, we want this task force to be known to save lives, to aware our Latino community," said Tamsi.

In mid-August Jay Tamsi, president of the Hispanic chamber of commerce and co-founder of the Latino COVID-19 task force. The task force is a volunteer-based organization to help spread awareness about the virus, as well as help people access testing sites.

Tamsi believes that testing is especially important with the new health equity metric put in place by the state of California.

"A lot of folks who are essential workers, do not have access or have the time to go and get tested," said Tamsi.

While Kern County has moved into the less restrictive red tier, the task force's mission is far from over.

"We want to move up from the red tier to the orange tier, and eventually we don't want to have a tier. And that is what we are focusing on right now," said Tamsi.

The task force is now implementing a 1-800 hotline number in the next couple of weeks, allowing those who may be suffering in isolation to have someone to talk to.

"They can call if they are feeling symptoms of fear, of depression, of loneliness, and isolation, and so that is something that we are working on right now," said Tamsi.