COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Hispanics in Tulsa and city leaders are urging the community to be extra careful this holiday season.
Culturally, Hispanics love to gather in big groups during the holidays, but that could lead to a spike in the community’s COVID-19 cases. The Tulsa Health Department wants to get that message across both in Spanish and English.
"We want to hug people we want to kiss them," Gitzel Puente with the City of Tulsa said. "We want to greet them with a warm embrace, but we can't do that right now. The CDC and the Tulsa Health Department are recommending the opposite."
COVID-19 has made it hard for families to get together and celebrate the holidays, and that includes the growing Hispanic community around Tulsa.
Puente said the Hispanic population represents 17.5% of COVID-19 cases in Tulsa, even though the group makes up only 13% of the population. Despite the new restrictions, the positive cases in the community have continued to rise.
On Wednesday, the Tulsa Health Department teamed up with the Latinx COVID-19 Outreach committee to help Spanish speakers understand the risks of the virus and outline the measures they can do to slow the spread.
Puente urges Hispanics to take the restrictions seriously. She said although Hispanics traditionally gather to help a sick loved one, a disease like COVID-19 will make gathering impossible. She hopes she and others in the city can get the immigrant community informed in a way they can understand clearly.
"We are trying to reach them in a way where they feel comfortable and that's why we created this group to try to transmit information in Spanish because sometimes that link is lost," Puente said.
Puente also said those who are undocumented may still get tested for COVID-19 as long as they provide any form of identification at the testing sites.