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'The disease is a human issue': LULAC demands action from Gov. Abbott regarding COVID-19 among Latinos

LULAC National President Domingo Garcia is urging the governor to "take action now" before more Texans die from COVID-19.
Credit: AP
Lillian Palacios, center, holds her son, Daniel, 7, as a healthcare professional prepares to take a sample from him at a United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site Friday, June 26, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The League of United Latin American Citizens sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday demanding action to counter a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Latino community. 

In the letter, LULAC National President Domingo Garcia urged Abbott to "take action now" as the disease continues to surge across Texas. 

"When you ran for governor, you said all Texans mattered. Now is the time to prove it to the Hispanic Community, as we are the most at risk in this pandemic," Garcia said. 

Within the letter, LULAC declared announced a Statewide Public Safety Alert for Hispanics in Texas and also a Statewide Public Health Emergency.

Texas Health officials say Hispanics are disproportionately getting sick and dying from the disease. According to Garcia, in some cases, families have had multiple loved ones get sick or die. 

A large percentage of Latino victims are in the state's latest hotspots, according to the letter. 

RELATED: City of Dallas teams up with local nonprofits to distribute $500K in aid to immigrant families impacted by COVID-19

Garcia shared the following data in which LULAC has gathered regarding COVID-19 victims who are Latino:

  • Dallas County: More than 60% of positive COVID19 cases are Hispanics.
  • Harris County: More than 60% of positive COVID19 cases are Hispanics.
  • Bexar County: More than 73% of positive Covid19 cases are Hispanic.
  • Meatpacking workers, mostly Hispanic, have seen a higher rate of positive cases in Amarillo and Cactus, TX.

LULAC also urged Abbott to take the following actions in its letter: 

  • Issue an executive order immediately making it mandatory statewide that Texans wear a face covering.
  • Implement $500 fines for those who violate the mask order. Local public health workers, EMS, and fire department employees can enforce the penalties because police already have a lot of work on their hands.
  • Require government agencies and business owners to take the temperature of any person entering a public building, office, restaurant, or other social establishments.
  • Call for a special legislative session and vote to tap rainy day funds for medical care and vital services that target areas hard hit by the virus.
  • Provide funding for public education via online learning for Hispanic families. Funds would also help Hispanic families who need laptops or online tools for learning purposes.
  • Provide emergency state funds for small businesses to stay open with grants and payroll assistance.

The letter comes one day after Abbott's office agreed to an interview Thursday afternoon with Univision's local Dallas affiliate, KUVN-DT. This is allegedly after the station spent two months seeking an interview with Abbott, as first reported by the Dallas Morning News.

Late last month, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins shared his opinion on why he believes it's important to talk to both English and Spanish media outlets several times a week. 

In a tweet translated from Spanish to English Jenkins said, "We have an obligation to communicate with all the people we represent. So I speak to the Spanish-speaking press several times a week. We are chosen by those who vote for us, but we take an oath to protect and serve everyone."

In the letter that LULAC sent to Abbott, Garcia said this pandemic isn't about politics. 

"Governor, COVID 19 is not an issue about Republicans or Democrats. The disease is a human issue," Garcia said. "Stop politicizing the safety of Texans and do what needs to be done."

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