Coronavirus surging in Oklahoma City’s Hispanic community

“It’s very well ingrained in our culture, as Latinx people, that we keep our family close,” Lozano said. “We keep our loved ones close, so social distancing in and of itself has not been the easiest thing to do.”

Building trust to improve prevention

COVID-19 is surging in predominantly Hispanic communities in south Oklahoma City.

But tackling the problem is complicated, and requires addressing some cultural norms and trying to restore faith in government.

The location of Oklahoma City-area coronavirus hotspots can vary from week to week. But one of the near-consistent hotspots in south Oklahoma City last month was in ZIP code 73119, where roughly 60% of the residents are Hispanic. Several neighboring ZIP codes have also seen surges of new COVID-19 cases.

Dream Action Oklahoma, which seeks to empower the local immigrant community, has shifted much of its social justice work into helping Oklahoma City’s Hispanic community survive the pandemic, Lozano said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many in the community viewed the coronavirus and face masks as a controversial political issue, she said. There’s also a deep pride among many Hispanics that can keep them from asking for help when they get sick.

Government skepticism runs deep, especially among those who are undocumented, Lozano said. That can play into whether a person feels comfortable getting tested for COVID-19 or seeking treatment when they get sick.

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