“La familia lo es todo,” Mayor Pro Tem Josephine Soliz implores the camera from her seat on the City Council dais, “y tenemos la responsabilidad de protegernos.”

Family is everything, and we have a responsibility to protect each other.

That’s the message being shared in a Spanish-language PSA produced by the City of Victoria Communications & Public Affairs. The PSA features three Spanish-speaking local government leaders—Soliz; Jesús A. Garza, city manager; and Danny Garcia, Victoria County commissioner, Precinct 1—discussing the importance of protecting oneself and others from COVID-19.

“Studies have shown that Hispanics are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering serious complications from it, so tailoring messages to reach our bilingual Spanish-speaking residents was important,” said Ashley Strevel, director of Communications & Public Affairs. “The role of the City’s Communications team is to provide timely and accurate information to the public, and that includes providing information that’s accessible for all Victorians.”

During the pandemic, the City of Victoria has worked to increase its outreach to Spanish speakers by sharing Spanish-language information about COVID-19 on its Facebook page and at www.victoriatxoem.org. The PSA was produced to add a new avenue of information for Hispanic residents, who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—a trend that holds true for Victoria County as well as the state of Texas, with Hispanics accounting for about 52% of the county’s positive cases despite only making up about 48% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition to overcoming the language barrier, the PSA addresses some of the factors that contribute to worse rates of COVID-19 among Hispanics. For example, Hispanics are more likely than the general population to live in large or multigenerational households. This allows the virus to more easily spread from young people with mild symptoms to older, more vulnerable family members.

Everyday COVID-19 precautions include avoiding close contact with those outside one’s home, but people with sick family members must take social distancing a step further, especially in large households. “Si no te sientes bien … sepárate de los demás dentro de tu casa,” Garcia advises viewers. If you don’t feel well, isolate yourself from others within your home.

“Tomen en cuenta los parientes de mayor edad y con condiciones de salud crónicas,” Soliz adds. Be mindful of older family members and those with chronic health conditions.

Although case counts are trending downward, COVID-19 is still a present danger, especially for at-risk demographics. Ensuring that all Victoria residents—not only English speakers—have access to accurate information will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“Tomando precauciones, podemos mantener nuestra comunidad más saludable,” Garza reminds residents as the PSA comes to an end. By taking precautions, we can keep our community healthy.

The PSA is available to watch on YouTube and also airs on Vtv15 (channels 15 and 115) and KAVU (channel 25). Detailed information about COVID-19 rates in Victoria, including demographic impacts, is posted Monday-Saturday on the Victoria County Public Health Department’s Facebook page.

Sam Hankins is the communications specialist for the City of Victoria.

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