The Hispanic community in Cleveland is tight-knit, family-driven, and one of the fastest growing populations, representing 13% of the city.

Forty percent of Cleveland Councilwoman Jasmin Santana’s Ward 14 is Hispanic. But early in the pandemic, Santana noticed a growing problem for the growing community.

“The pandemic revealed that the city and many organizations were not ready to respond to the huge crisis and meet the needs of the Hispanic population,” said Santana.

According to Santana, the language barrier between her residents and the vital COVID-19 information coming from the Cleveland Health Department put some residents at risk.

“Such as translating, announcements, bilingual COVID tracers and even data collectors,” she said. “There were people that were getting sick, they did not understand the instructions that were given.”

A city spokesperson said: “At the height of the pandemic, when the caseload was high, the Cleveland Department of Public Health had an estimated 80 contact tracers that included full-time, temporary staff, full-time staff that were reassigned to that position as well as volunteers performing that duty. Currently, we have 14 temporary staff working full time in that capacity. Since August, we’ve also been using the state’s contact tracers to provide support and bi-lingual contact tracers.”

Read the full article from News 5 Cleveland here.