MARSHALL CO., Ala. (WAFF) - As various outlets work to continue stressing the danger of COVID-19, some people are still unaware of the threat the virus poses here in North Alabama.
That’s because of a language barrier.
“I know a person that got infected, and he didn’t even know where to get tested,” says Zaira Parga, a bilingual advocate and victim services coordinator for Family Services of North Alabama.
Parga says the lack of information available to the area’s Hispanic and Latino communities is attributed to a number of factors, one being a lack of translation.
“We do have Spanish-speaking networks,” says Parga. “But they’re covering New York. They’re covering California. They’re not covering our local cities like our local news channel is.”
Parga says another contributing factor is workplaces failing to inform their employees when a worker tests positive.
“Chicken plants are saying ‘You can come into work.' But what I have seen... they’re not telling their employees that some people are being infected."
Still, Parga says even some of those in the Hispanic and Latino communities who do contract COVID-19 don’t want to see a doctor for fear of being forced to stay home and out of work.
“That’s the fear... Having to miss work and not being able to provide for their families is what’s scary for them.”
Parga says more has to be done to address this issue.
“I think one of the big things is that translation should be provided everywhere... If you’re going to have a town meeting, at least provide translation. Give the opportunity for the local Hispanic business to provide their input as well.”
In addition, one of Parga’s biggest messages to the Hispanic and Latino communities during this time is to stay calm.
“Don’t freak out... We all know that coronavirus has been such a pandemic right now, and everybody’s been freaking out and panicking. But we can just overcome it.”