WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — Once COVID-19 numbers started to spike in Northwest Arkansas cities, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was called in to take a look at the outbreak.
The CDC has now released its report from their visit, highlighting how the Marshallese and Hispanic communities are some of the hardest hit.
"It is so important that we're able to engage with folks in the language that they understand best, and I really think that's been a really big mess, even though I've been advocating for that, and folks in the community have been advocating for that from day one," Megan Godfrey, the State Rep. for District 89, said.
The CDC sent a team to Northwest Arkansas in mid-June to analyze the COVID-19 outbreak among the Marshallese and Hispanic communities in Washington and Benton Counties. The results showed that positive cases are disproportionately affecting the Hispanic and Marshallese communities.
The report says as of June 15, nearly half of adult cases in the community were among Hispanics and 19% were among Marshallese.
The CDC team gave recommendations to help limit the spread of the virus. They advocated for serial testing in communities with high volumes of positive cases.
The CDC also says that there is an overlap with cases spreading in poultry plants, the household and community.
"The folks that are working there continue to go to work fearful, or continue to hear information that makes them feel like their environment that they are working in might not be safe," Godfrey told 5NEWS.
Communicating with these communities by using a language that they understand is also key to slowing the spread of the virus.
"I want to make sure, and make every effort possible to reach those folks," Channing Barker with the NWA COVID-19 Task Force said.
The NWA COVID-19 Task Force has also started putting out virus-related information in different languages for Marshallese and Spanish communities.
Read the full report from the CDC below: