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Vegas healthcare workers continue COVID-19 battle, push for proper medical supplies

Minority communities also feeling coronavirus impact
Posted at 9:02 PM, Aug 13, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — COVID-19 is heavily impacting communities of color in the Las Vegas valley and nurses from those communities are worried about their own health.

Healthcare workers continue their fight against COVID-19 amid having enough equipment to combat the virus while protecting themselves.

They have also seen how coronavirus has impacted several minorities locally, especially the Hispanic community.

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Thursday, representatives from several nursing trade groups and associations joined Rep. Susie Lee in a discussion of the impacts of COVID-19 in a Facebook Live event.

Rep. Lee said she is aware of the impacts in the minority communities.

The participating nurses shared similar worries when it comes to the lack of protective equipment to do their jobs safely.

Debra Collins, director of Nevada Nursing and Healthcare Workforce Center, says that personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a huge issue and difficult to find - like N95 masks.

Others focused on the lack of testing for minority communities, like Hispanics, who are the group most affected by COVID-19 cases in the state. This is something Lisa Marie Pacheco, president of Nevada Hispanic Nurses Association, says she has also noticed.

“We have to make sure that the testing sites and care that we’re providing is available for everybody”, Pacheco said. “We’re not getting out into the communities that are in need. We ere talking about 89109 and 89030. The zip codes that are the highest impacted with COVID-19. There’s a fear of getting tested and having an immigration issue."

Emily Ku, from the Commission of Minority Affairs of Nevada, also commented on this topic.

“A lot of the Asian community was afraid of wearing masks because they didn’t want to be targeted and that was a real fear. I have a lot of friends who told me they did not feel comfortable, even going to the grocery store and that is just a byproduct of racism and COVID-19 coming together," Ku said.

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Rep. Lee promised to keep fighting for the needs of the valley's healthcare workers.

“At today’s roundtable, I had the special opportunity to hear directly from those on the front lines of this issue and learned what I can do in Congress to help. I will continue to do all I can to help break down the systemic inequality that has caused so much suffering among communities of color," Rep. Lee said.