Hispanic population hit hard in Shelby County

In Shelby County, there are 160 total coronavirus cases confirmed.
Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 7:11 PM EDT

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - The North Central District Health Department is closely monitoring the way the coronavirus is spreading throughout area counties, and its staff is doing what they can to help. However, the Health Department’s Director says it’s up to the community to make sure we keep an eye out for one another, including our neighbors.

At The Catholic Church of Annunciation in Shelbyville, social distancing standards are in place, which is commonly seen in public places amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Father Mike Tobin, what isn’t normal is a nearly-empty chapel. He says every Sunday there are almost 300 people who attend the Spanish language mass, but since the coronavirus hit, attendance has dropped to just about 75 people.

“The Hispanic community is all about family,” Tobin said. “It is a great sense of fear that people in the family could be harmed. There’s effort amongst our families to try and take some steps that will keep the infection from spreading.”

Tobin said more Spanish speakers have joined the church staff, which helps bridge the gap for parishioners who look to the church as a resource during the pandemic. That’s why they’ve put up advisories in Spanish; ushers can show families where to sit and help them understand how to follow other guidelines.

Tobin said the response from the community has been well-received.

“There was a joyful attitude not a sense of, 'Oh you’re taking away our freedom. We’re just happy to be back in church tell us what we need to do,” Tobin said. “Our faith is playing a roll in all of this.”

The North Central District Health Department released new numbers to WAVE News on Thursday. In Shelby County, there are 160 total coronavirus cases confirmed. Meanwhile, in Henry and Spencer counties, there are 18 cases, and in Trimble County, there 5 cases.

In terms of fatalities, Shelby County has four deaths, while Henry, Spence and Trimble counties don’t have any.

"The disparity effect that COVID is having on them, if you boiled it down to just a few words, all roads would lead to social determinants of health, social-economic status and health equity,” Roanya Rice, director of the North Central District Health Department, explained. She said those are just are few factors which have contributed to the high number of positive cases.

As of May 28, 2020, the Hispanic population has 128 people confirmed with the virus, the Caucasian population has 69 confirmed and African American communities have four cases.

Rice said while the health department has been doing its part, neighbors and even employers can do things to help out.

"Understand that there are obstacles and barriers they’re facing,” Rice said. “Try to be sensitive to those, if you employ individuals who are part of this population, help assure that when they’re through their isolation that they have a place to work, so they don’t feel pressured to work when they need to be home and self-isolating.”

Click here to learn more about coronavirus testing with North Central District Health Department.

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