COVID-19 has put a strain on economic disparities, leaving vulnerable communities to bear the economic brunt of the crisis.
Some of the many inequities in social determinants of health that put racial and ethnic minority communities at increased risk for COVID-19 positive cases include: lack of access to healthcare, income and wages, occupation, discrimination, and housing conditions.
In late June, when evidence became clear about the increased level of COVID-19 infection in the Latino community, Supervisor Andrew Do and Supervisor Doug Chaffee – who both represent Orange County’s Testing Ad Hoc Committee – announced the launch of the Latino Health Equity Initiative to eliminate barriers that kept Latino residents from accessing vital COVID-19 related information.
On September 15, to address the needs of other ethnic minority groups in the county - particularly the Asian Pacific Islander (API) and the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) communities – the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Supervisor Do and Supervisor Chaffee’s proposal to direct the Health Care Agency to develop a COVID-19 testing strategy and operational plan to expand testing into these communities.
“Some of our residents from racial and ethnic minority groups may be hesitant to seek care because they distrust government,” said Supervisor Do, who represents the First District. “This proposal builds off of the Latino Health Equity Initiative, and first calls to identify community-based organizations in the API and MENA communities to administer the testing strategy.”
According to the latest available statewide data, over 60 percent of all COVID-19 cases are in the Latino community, followed by other 22 percent in other ethnic communities. People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in essential work settings and have more chances to be exposed to COVID-19 due to not being able to work from home or not having paid sick days, among many other factors.
“Essential workers in the API and MENA communities are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infections as they continue to provide for their families during the pandemic,” said Supervisor Chaffee, who represents the Fourth District. “We must keep our communities safe - especially ones that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”
To eliminate many linguistic, cultural, transportation and other barriers that exist for the API and MENA communities, the Health Care Agency will first identify community-based organizations to administer the COVID-19 testing strategy following the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 testing guidelines.
County-Operated Testing Site for Orange County Residents
Anaheim Testing Super Site
Location: Anaheim Convention Center
Address: 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim (West Street entrance)
Days: Tuesdays – Saturdays
Times: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
*Lane dedicated to First Responders
Costa Mesa Testing Super Site
Location: OC Fair & Event Center
Address: 88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa (Gate 4 Entrance)
Days: Monday – Fridays
Times: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
*Lane dedicated to First Responders
Latino Health Access Partnership
Locations: Santa Ana & Anaheim Schools
You can also call their support line at 714-805-7838
*these locations are open for Santa Ana and Anaheim residents only and services are offered to non-English speakers
OC COVID-19 Testing Network
Locations: Throughout Orange County
*services are offered to non-English speakers
For more information on the testing priorities at each of these sites and other resources, please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency Network of Testing at www.ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.
And to find out what to do while waiting for test results, or if a COVID-19 test is positive, please visit www.ochealthinfo.com/protecteachother.
Orange County Vice Chairman Andrew Do represents the First District communities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, and Midway City. In his second term, Vice Chairman Do has advocated for health and safety-based COVID-19 response planning, reformed Orange County’s mental health services, expanded access to health care, and led efforts to combat homelessness. Supervisor Andrew Do was one of the first officials in the state to propose a face covering mandate.
Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee represents the Fourth District, which includes the cities of Fullerton, La Habra, Brea, Placentia, and portions of Anaheim and Buena Park. In his first term, Supervisor Chaffee has combatted homelessness by supporting the creation of and allocating funding to the Buena Park and Placentia Navigation Centers and has spurred economic development by reinvesting $14.5 million to small business in the Fourth District.