With a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Clark County occurring in the Hispanic community, County leaders, health experts and partners announced a sweeping new outreach effort to boost understanding among Hispanic residents of all ages about the need to wear face coverings in public places, visit free testing sites, and find resources to help protect themselves and their families from the virus.
The Spanish-language initiative, called "Esta En Tus Manos" (It's in your hands.) includes a website at estaentusmanosnevada.com to serve as an informational hub for the Hispanic community to find testing locations, health care and other resources to help people dealing with impacts from the virus. The Esta En Tus Manos campaign also will include social media outreach, radio and TV public service announcements, posters, fliers and other materials. Officials also are working with a wide network of supporting community leaders, businesses, churches, Spanish-language media outlets and other organizations to help carry the messages of COVID-19 prevention, education and support into the Hispanic community.
"Clark County's Hispanic community is large and diverse and is being disproportionately hard hit by COVID-19," said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who organized the Esta En Tus Manos campaign with Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, and all the members of the Southern Nevada Health District Board of Health, to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases among the Hispanic population. "We need to do a better job of communicating directly to our Spanish-speaking residents so they know what they need to do to protect themselves and their families from the virus, and where to go for help and resources."
"We are working with our partners to get the message across in the Hispanic community that everyone needs to wear a mask, limit the size of social gatherings and get tested," said Councilwoman Diaz. "Many Hispanic families in the Las Vegas Valley live in multi-generational households, and we need to make them aware that if one family member gets the virus without knowing it, this disease can be brought home to their abuelitos (grandparents) and others with terrible consequences. We also don't want people to be afraid to get tested if they develop symptoms, and we want them to know where they can turn for help."
The number of COVID-19 cases is steadily rising in Clark County. As of Tuesday, the health district is reporting 15,095 cases, including 4,801 in the Hispanic population. Hispanic residents in Clark County have the highest rate of COVID-19 infections of any racial or ethnic group. The rate of COVID-19 infections is more than two times higher for Hispanic people compared to non-Hispanic whites.
"These statistics underscore the social and health inequities that put Hispanics at an increased risk of getting COVID-19," said Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer for the health district. "We know Hispanics are more likely to work in industries with high levels of public interaction such as health care, grocery stores, or the service industry, and that is why it is so important for our Hispanic community to continue to take precautions to protect themselves and others."
Alyssa Cortes, a 22-year-old Las Vegas native, spoke at a news conference today at the Clark County Government Center to help support the "Esta En Tus Manos" initiative. Her uncle Everardo Cortes passed away on June 25 from the virus. "It has been especially devastating for our family to cope with such an abrupt loss considering my uncle's young age and the birth of his newborn baby," said Cortes. "He was 41 years old. We hope that our community can take steps to prevent the spread and deaths that come from COVID-19."
The "Esta En Tus Manos" effort will target outreach, education and more testing efforts in neighborhoods on the east and northeast portions of the valley with the highest COVID-19 case counts.
"Many neighborhoods in my district have large populations of Hispanic residents and other communities of color, and these communities face a disproportionate risk of contracting the virus if they don't wear face coverings and take other steps to protect themselves," said Commissioner Segerblom. "They also need to hear from trusted community partners that testing is free and available to everyone whether you have insurance or not. We are in the middle of a public health crisis. Our goal is to reduce the spread of this virus in our community and offer support to anyone who needs it."
Commissioner Jim Gibson, whose Commission district also includes southeast Las Vegas, is working with local churches and other community partners to offer testing and assistance to vulnerable families. "As our community has opened up and people have gone back to work and tried to resume some normalcy in their lives, it's easy to forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic," Commissioner Gibson said. "All of us need to do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We also need to help those who are struggling because of health impacts from the virus to get the resources they need."
In partnership with the Clark County School District, Clark County and the Health District are hosting a schedule of Friday and Saturday testing events in July at different middle school locations on the east side of the valley. No appointment is necessary. Tests are available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be done from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at each location. Testing dates and locations are: July 10-11, Courtney Middle School, 5301 E. Hacienda Ave., 89122; July 17-18, Monaco Middle School, 1870 N. Lamont St., 89115; July 24-25 Jerome Mack Middle School, 4250 E. Karen Ave., 89121; July 30-Aug. 1, Roy Martin Middle School, 200 N. 28 St., 89101. A calendar COVID-19 testing events sponsored by the Health District is available in English and Spanish on its website at www.SNHD.info/covid.
Additionally, Clark County, UMC and community partners also operate drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in a parking garage at the Texas Station Hotel and Casino on Rancho Drive and Lake Mead Boulevard in North Las Vegas and at the UNLV Tropicana Avenue parking garage next to the Thomas & Mack Center. Both sites operate five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sites are open to anyone, including children, whether exhibiting symptoms or not and with no out-of-pocket costs. Drive-thru testing is available to people arriving in enclosed vehicles, and both sites offer walk-up testing areas. As much as possible, patients are asked to self-schedule appointments online through UMC's website at www.umcsn.com. Members of the public with limited online access can call UMC to scheduled appointments at (702) 383-2619.