ATLANTA (WSAV) – New COVID-19 data shows one out of every four Latino poultry workers in Northeast Georgia are testing positive for the coronavirus.
“The communities in NE Georgia tend to be multi-generational, multi-families and crowded conditions,” says Dr. Jodie Guest of Emory University. “They are working in a crowded condition and they are going home in crowded conditions and COVID-19 is take off in situations like that.”
In South Georgia, doctors say migrant pickers are testing positive at a rate of 70%, and in Middle Georgia, African Americans are facing the brunt.
Researchers say economic disparities and decreased access to medical care and proper nutrition are factors for Latinos and African Americans seeing higher COVID-19 numbers.
“Those health disparities are not limited to COVID-19,” says Dr. Jay Varkey of Emory University. “In this country, the data is clear that people who are Black have lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, and higher rates of chronic medical conditions like kidney disease, cardiovascular disease.”
Health experts say language barriers may prevent some from getting tested or be concerned about their jobs or immigration status.
Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency says the average age of someone dying from COVID-19 complications in the state is 74 years old. The state is preparing an alternate care facility with 80 beds for non-critical patients in Milledgeville that opens early July.