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COVID-19 & Latino Communities in Charlotte

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CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS 02 Executive Summary 04 Demographic Information 06 COVID 19 Questions 07 Ability to Obtain Necessary Services During COVID 19 08 Financial Health and COVID 19 09 Mental and Emotional Health and COVID 19 10 Physical Health and COVID 19 11 Vaccine Questions 14 Conclusion CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 01

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Camino Community Center is a non profit organization focused on equipping all people to live healthy hopeful and productive lives Since 2003 Camino has served low income Latino families in the greater Charlotte area through a health clinic mental health clinic health education services thrift store food pantry homeless outreach program and a variety of other health and human services The community center is bilingual and multicultural bridging gaps between language and cultural barriers for families in need Since the onset of COVID 19 in March 2020 data on the impact of the pandemic on Latino communities has emerged across the US demonstrating that Latinos have been disproportionately impacted by the virus physically emotionally and financially However much of this data comes from states with more established Latino immigrant populations like New York Texas or California Given differences in community needs the demographic makeup of the community and access to services these data are not generalizable to areas with relatively less established Latino immigrant populations like North Carolina NC Existing data on Latino communities is often collected through instruments like the US Census or through surveys administered by academic or government institutions like the Pew Research Center State and County Health Departments or other government entities Such data may not be representative of local immigrant communities especially those in geographical areas with a high proportion of undocumented immigrants Undocumented immigrants are not likely to fill out the census or similar forms or participate in research studies due to fear of discrimination and or deportation and a lack of trust in providing personal data to bureaucratic institutions Latinos make up approximately 10 of NC s total population US Census Bureau 2018 However NC is estimated to have one of the highest undocumented populations in the US Baker 2017 meaning this number is likely highly underreported Over 1 in 4 Latino residents in NC live in Mecklenburg or Wake Counties US Census Bureau 2018 The Latino population makes up more than 14 of the population in Mecklenburg County US Census Bureau 2018 66 of whom are immigrants with more than 100 000 of those being undocumented UNC Charlotte Urban Institute 2006 Given this data is 15 years old these numbers are likely much higher today Not to mention original numbers were likely underreported due to fear and mistrust in undocumented populations Camino s Research and Evaluation Department conducted a two phase study on the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on local Latino immigrant communities in February April 2021 The first phase of the study was an electronic survey sent in Spanish to patients clients church members and other members of Camino s networks n 422 The second phase consisted of short interviews conducted during COVID 19 vaccination events held at Camino Community Center n 80 This study was inclusive of individuals who may normally be excluded from similar studies conducted by other institutions especially undocumented Latino immigrants This report presents results from the quantitative and qualitative data collected during the study CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 02

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PHASE 1 The survey consisted of 23 multiple choice questions on demographic information perspectives on the COVID 19 vaccine and the physical emotional and financial impact of the pandemic It was created in English translated to Spanish by a native speaker and then crosschecked for accuracy by several other native speakers Surveys were sent to key Latino community leaders and stakeholders who were asked to complete the survey and send to other community members A total of 422 surveys were completed in February 2021 Descriptive statistics are presented in this report PHASE 2 Semi structured interviews were conducted in Spanish on site at Camino Community Center during COVID 19 vaccination events held in March and April 2021 to provide more detailed accounts on the survey questions Questions for these interviews were created after analyzing the results from the first phase of the study Participants were asked how the pandemic personally impacted them their perspective on vaccination efforts among Latinos and whether they encountered barriers to getting the vaccine Exemplary quotes from interview data are presented alongside survey results to provide key insights of the lived experiences of the pandemic s impact on Latino communities The implications of the COVID 19 pandemic on the financial situation of Latinos are noteworthy 77 reported household income decreased 64 reported a member of their household lost their job 89 reported experiencing stress related to their financial situation 71 reported some level of difficulty getting food 73 reported some level of difficulty paying for medical appointments 71 reported difficulty paying rent mortgage There are also negative implications on Latino s mental and physical wellbeing 89 reported it impacted their mood and 89 reported experiencing stress related to COVID 19 When asked about the COVID 19 vaccine most respondents 68 reported a high likelihood of getting the vaccine if it were made available to them However almost half of respondents 49 felt there are barriers to getting the vaccine the biggest barrier reported is a lack of trust in the vaccine or not knowing whether it will benefit them 37 followed by a lack of health insurance 20 Data collected from interviews reinforce survey results Many participants noted how the pandemic negatively impacted their work reporting reduced hours loss of job and disrupted schedules The reduction of household income caused financial stress by making it more difficult to pay bills and rent Participants reported experiencing various forms of emotional stress including losing family members to COVID feeling isolated from family and friends and fear of contracting the virus Also participants consistently reported they had little to no hesitancy in getting the vaccine explaining that they wanted it to both protect themselves and their family community Nevertheless they informed us that misinformation and conspiracy theories circulating in communities and social media are likely causing vaccine hesitancy among Latinos in general CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 03

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Between February 17 and February 22 2021 422 individuals responded to a survey conducted by the Department of Research and Evaluation at Camino The following are the demographic findings GENDER DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION 73 27 FEMALE MALE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN 35 SOUTH AMERICA 5 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 27 MEXICO 4 CUBA 3 PUERTO RICO 26 CENTRAL AMERICA 3 of all survey respondents wrote in Puerto Rico as their country of origin 41 90 IMMIGRATION STATUS OF PEOPLE UNINSURED IMMIGRANT 20 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES 81 DIFFERENT US ZIP CODES 32 N 134 US Citizen 20 N 85 Undocumented Immigrant Prefer Not to Answer 18 N 77 Resident 17 N 72 Documented Immigrant 13 N 54 0 50 100 150 Given Camino s extensive knowledge of and experience with the Latino community it is highly likely those who selected prefer not to answer are undocumented making the total approximately 38 n 162 undocumented CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 04

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REACH 1 Map 1 represents the amount of people who completed the survey in each zip code in and around Charlotte Darker areas represent that more people filled it out within that particular zip code 2 Map 2 demonstrates the reach the survey had across North Carolina The larger areas highlight where more people completed it CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 05

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COVID 19 QUESTIONS Participants were asked a series of questions about how COVID 19 has impacted them and their households The following are their responses 25 59 18 have tested positive for COVID 19 had someone in their household test positive for COVID 19 had a family member be hospitalized due to COVID 19 I had a really bad experience For almost a month I was at the hospital hooked up to machines without being able to move This happened last year in July and the recovery is very long After leaving the hospital they put me in a motel alone until I had no more symptoms After that I was recovering through August September October November until December That was a difficult experience El Salvadorian Female 72 previously infected with COVID CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 06

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ABILITY TO OBTAIN NECESSARY SERVICES DURING COVID 19 Participants were asked a series of questions about their experience obtaining various services during the pandemic The following are their responses 71 DIFFICULTY GETTING FOOD 66 DIFFICULTY GETTING MEDICINE 73 DIFFICULTY PAYING MEDICAL BILLS 71 DIFFICULTY PAYING FOR HOUSING 299 participants reported difficulty getting food due to COVID 19 277 participants reported difficulty getting medicine due to COVID 19 307 participants reported difficulty paying for needed medical appointments due to COVID 19 299 participants reported difficulty paying for rent or mortgage due to COVID 19 CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 07

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FINANCIAL HEALTH AND COVID 19 Participants were asked how their financial situation has been impacted by COVID 19 77 reported their household income decreased n 326 64 reported a member of their household lost their job n 270 There wasn t much work The little work that was around were only a few hours that they would let us work There were days that someone tested positive for COVID and that halted all work These were large projects and we couldn t work until everything was disinfected and confirmed that everyone else was clear to return Paying bills rent car it financially impacted me a lot Mexican male 47 Mexican Male 47 Construction Worker 88 REPORTED FINANCIAL STRESS 371 participants reported COVID 19 has caused them financial stress CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 08

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MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND COVID 19 Participants were asked how COVID 19 impacted their physical mental and emotional wellbeing Hearing stuff every day about the pandemic I never in my life had a panic attack never And hearing all that stuff that goes around social media made me at one point feel What should I do Should I hide in the closet What should I do But we can t live in fear We still have to go to work Venezuelan Female 47 HOW OFTEN DO YOU EXPERIENCE STRESS RELATED TO COVID 19 Never 11 Rarely 18 Sometimes 38 Frequently 33 0 10 20 30 I think more than anything I was impacted socially emotionally because one would like to be more in touch with people We are social people especially Latinos because we are more about hugging and greeting each other with a little kiss We can t do that anymore and I miss it Guatemalan Female 47 CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 40 09

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PHYSICAL HEALTH AND COVID 19 It was very difficult What affected me most was my respiration I stayed at home taking oxygen for four days with a fever Mexican Female 40 11 18 89 EXPERIENCED STRESS 38 377 participants reported experiencing stress related to 33 COVID 19 It left me weak I could not work because of the Coronavirus I used to be healthy I used to walk well I used to be very active but now I feel down Ecuadorian Male 71 previously infected with COVID 75 CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES of participants reported COVID 19 has impacted their physical health n 315 10

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COVID 19 VACCINE LATINO COMMUNITIES LIKELIHOOD OF GETTING COVID 19 VACCINE 13 VERY UNLIKELY 19 UNLIKELY 24 LIKELY 44 VERY LIKELY T H E VACCINE IS THE ONLY SOLUTION Costa Rican female 42 We know that with the vaccine we are protecting ourselves and protecting our children we trust in God and in the vaccine with which we can protect ourselves Costa Rican female 42 CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 12

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BARRIERS TO GETTING COVID 19 VACCINE 40 35 49 30 27 20 8 10 10 4 0 Tr an sp or ta tio n Im La m ng ig ua ra ge tio U ns n ur St e at if us it La w ill ck La he o ck fI lp ns of ur tr an us ce ti n va cc in e of participants reported having barriers to getting the vaccine 16 Many people are still scared There s a lot of news that says that the vaccine is a chip Others say that it s killing Hispanics Those are ignorant views For me they are ignorant views Salvadorian Female 72 As Latinos we are scared to get vaccinated Some are scared of needles some are scared because of what other people say But nothing compares to finding out yourself That s why I came here to see for myself and tell others to not be scared and to come get vaccinated Don t be afraid because it is to protect oneself Mexican Male 43 CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 13

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CONCLUSION This is the first survey to measure the perceived impact of COVID 19 on Latino immigrants in the greater Charlotte area The data was collected by a community center that has worked for more than 20 years to establish the trust of the Latino community increasing the likelihood the data is both truthful and representative of the local Latino immigrant community Not to mention the survey captures the perspectives of undocumented immigrants many of whom felt comfortable enough to report on their immigration status and who may not have participated if the survey had been administered by another institution Administering a survey such as this through a local community center ensures the inclusion of a group of people who are often left out of research and or decision making processes like the development and implementation of programs and services This data shows Latino immigrants have been impacted by the pandemic physically emotionally and financially This data also shows Latino immigrants would receive the COVID 19 vaccine if it were made available to them disproving a common misconception that Latino immigrants do not want the vaccine In fact Camino Community Center successfully vaccinated 1 561 community members through COVID 19 vaccine clinics held in partnership with Walmart Mecklenburg County Public Health and Randolph Medical Pharmacy from February May 2021 Taken together these findings suggest low rates of vaccines in Latinos may be due to a lack of access to the vaccine through trusted sources rather than a lack of desire to be vaccinated Data from this report can be used to inform the development of programs and services that meet the needs of the Latino immigrant community in the Charlotte area Camino has a number of services that address issues highlighted by the study Through Camino s Social Navigation program clients are screened for needs based on the Social Determinants of Health and referred to programs services both internally and externally depending on those needs Social navigators help clients who are experiencing financial hardship seek and file for support for assistance paying rent utilities and other necessities Camino also partners with other community organizations to hold job fairs and career workshops to connect Latino immigrants to work Camino Food Pantry in partnership with Loaves Fishes aids with food insecurity assisting those who may be financially impacted by the pandemic The behavioral health program Camino Contigo offers peer support services play therapy for children and individual counseling to individuals experiencing emotional stress that may have been caused or exacerbated by the pandemic Camino Clinic offers low cost integrated health care and education empowering Latinos to make informed decisions about their health such as choosing to get vaccinated for COVID 19 While this report addresses the need to understand how COVID 19 impacted Latino communities in and around Charlotte more research is needed to better understand the broader needs and barriers affecting Latino communities that extend beyond the pandemic Keri Elliott Revens PhD MS CHES Director of Research and Evaluation Camino Worldwide CAMINO THE IMPACT OF COVID 19 ON LATINO COMMUNITIES 14

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SUGGESTED CITATION FOR THIS REPORT Revens K E Caro L 2021 The Impact of COVID 19 on Latino Communities in the Greater Charlotte Area Camino Community Development Corporation

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