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Coronavirus toll still heavy among Latinos, other minorities

Mayra Arreguin wants to be very clear: For many of the low-income, immigrant and Spanish-speaking families in northern Sonoma County, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

She sees daily examples of the virus’s continued and residual effects on this segment of the population as an outreach advocate for the Cloverdale-based social service nonprofit La Familia Sana.

Because of her job, she has become embedded in the community through door-to-door canvasses, food drives and conversations at a local church popular among the area’s Latino families.

Her goal? Earning the trust of local residents and linking them to resources offered by La Familia Sana and other community organizations once she learns about the issues fraying their quality of life.

The pandemic continues to be at the core of many of their problems, Arreguin said. As a result, she refers families who need help paying for rent, utility bills and food to a local program that provides emergency financial assistance.

The recent omicron-fueled winter surge set back many people who were without paid sick leave or insurance, and who were already struggling to make ends meet, she added.


Access to rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests and food are other common needs, Arreguin said.

A coronavirus vaccination clinic hosted by La Familia Sana earlier this month garnered about 80 attendees, including a handful of residents who were getting the shot for the first time.

“There are people who still don’t believe … who still don’t want to get vaccinated,” Arreguin said. “But we’ve had good results.”

As Sonoma County and other parts of the state are eager to move to an “endemic” stage, county data and stories from workers like Arreguin show that COVID-19 continues to cast disproportionate harm on Latinos and other minorities.

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