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Latino leaders plead with South Bay families to stay home during the holidays

Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 21:29:54-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — As ICU capacities continue to dip, coronavirus positive cases within the local Latino community stay high.

Leaders within the Latino community are now pleading with people to stay home during the holidays. Christmas is just days away, it's a festive time for family, a joyous time of gathering. But Nancy Maldonado with the Chicano Federation says this year, that cannot happen.

"I get it, it's hard, but it's necessary, and it's what we have to do right now," Maldonado said.

The percentage of Latino San Diegans testing positive with COVID-19 is disproportionately high. While making up 34% of the county population, Latinos make up nearly 60% of positive COVID cases. With ICU space now extremely limited, Maldonado says they cannot afford to add to those statistics.

"Latinos have been hit really hard because of the overrepresentation in front line jobs, because of crowded housing, and because of a number of different factors," Maldonado said. "What we're seeing right now is the fallout of people gathering from Thanksgiving, and we don't want to see these numbers increase."

Last week, ABC 10News reported that the wait times at the South Chula Vista Library's free, no-appointment COVID testing site were hours long. But beginning Sunday, the county changed the site to be appointment only. The goal is to keep people from going out and gathering at a COVID-19 hotspot.

The South Bay, which is home to many Latinos, has been hit hardest with the virus. Maldonado says that is why the Chicano Federation has boots on the ground to launch the "With Pride" campaign.

"It's the 'Con Orgullo' campaign, 'With Pride,'" Maldonado translated. "Because what we really want to do is touch on people's pride that they feel when keeping their families and communities safe."

Their message is for people to get tested, stay safe, and stay home during the holidays.

"We are very family-oriented," Maldonado said. "Traditionally, we do gather during the holidays, and we gather in large groups. So we're sending a message that this holiday season, it has to look different so that next year, we can all get back to celebrating the way we love to. It's great to feel hopeful. But it's not okay to let your guard down. Not yet."