Teton County officials remain concerned about the rate at which COVID-19 is impacting the Latino population, which could be more at risk for complications from the disease.
Over the past two weeks, Teton County has documented 55 new cases of COVID-19, Teton District Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell said Friday during a regular community update livestreamed from Town Hall.
The Hispanic population accounted for 36 of those new cases, or 65%, Riddell said. That’s high considering that segment accounts for just 15% to 30% of the county’s population, depending on various estimates.
National data also suggests the demographic is at higher risk for complications, Riddell said. Citing newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said: “So far in the pandemic, 74% of children who died from this virus are Hispanic or Black compared to only 17% being white.”
The Teton County Health Department has stepped up efforts to get more information to this segment of the community.
“Our Latino community is on the front lines in terms of the service industry,” Teton County Director of Health Jodie Pond said, “as well as living in overcrowded conditions, in which the entire family then becomes positive.”
Furthermore, Jackson Mayor Pete Muldoon described Latino workers as likely to have jobs that put them in close contact with others: “[They] don’t have the luxury of working from home or not working at all,” he said.
Muldoon emphasized avoiding finger-pointing as the community grapples with the disease.
“Let’s not blame anybody,” he said. “We’re talking about people who are going out, risking their health, to keep us, keep our economy moving, and are, frankly, taking the brunt of some of the health risks.”