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Our neighbors are three times more likely to be infected than the rest of Oregonians. See how we are helping.
Although no one fully understands the reasons why, here are some characteristics of the population in Rockwood that are associated with higher incidents of COVID-19 infections
Latinx people have especially high infection rates, and Rockwood is around 40% Latinx;
A high percentage of our neighbors in this area are essential workers or service workers who are at greater risk of being exposed to the virus. We also use public transportation more often
Our neighbors went into this crisis with elevated levels of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and other risk factors; and,
Immigrants and refugees have less access to health care than our more established neighbors. Rockwood is Oregon’s most diverse community, with over 90 languages spoken at home within a two square mile radius.
Our high infection rates are particularly alarming because cases are not generally tied to workplace outbreaks. Few recent workplace, nursing home, church or daycare outbreaks appear to have contributed to the numbers here. The disease is spreading in clusters in our families and as we socialize with each other.
Hunger is linked to the COVID crisis, too. Before the crisis, about 40% of our neighborhood was food insecure, meaning that they did not know if they would eat that day. With the crisis, it is above 60%.
Backed by the USDA Farmer to Food program, local black, latino, and immigrant/refugee farmers, and Multnomah County, we have been feeding 600 – 800 families every week since April. We distribute KN95 masks and hand sanitizers. We do all of this in partnership with five to ten smaller local agencies, most of which are culturally-specific.
The Oregon Health Authority has also contracted with us to do contact tracing, education and wraparound services. This work forms the core of what we do at our Community Health Unit.