(Photo via J. Stephen Conn/Flickr)

Hispanic and Latino residents make up more than half of Napa County’s coronavirus hospitalizations and cases despite accounting for only about one-third of the county’s population, the county’s public health officer said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

While Hispanic and Latino residents make up 34 percent of the county’s population, local health officials have confirmed approximately 53 percent of the county’s hospitalizations and 57 percent of its cases among Hispanic and Latino people, according to county Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio.

Roughly 53 percent of the county’s population is non-Hispanic White residents, but those residents make up only 23 percent of the county’s hospitalizations and about 20 percent of cases.

The county will be required to submit an equity report to state public health officials by Oct. 13, in part to ensure the county is properly investing federal pandemic relief funding in communities that are disproportionately affected by the virus.

Relucio said local officials intend to improve their outreach to the county’s Hispanic and Latino communities by distributing informative door-hangers, collaborating with non-profit organizations and agricultural industry leaders and making supportive services more accessible.

“We want to continue to increase Spanish-speaking capacity for case investigation and contact tracing,” she said. “We have good capacity but we could make it better.”

County officials should also consider interviewing members of disproportionately affected communities to improve the county’s efforts of reducing the inequity of hospitalizations and positive cases, Relucio said.

Overall, the county’s average number of daily cases has held steady around 10 in recent weeks and the county has not recorded a coronavirus death since August. The county’s test positivity rate also currently sits at 2.1 percent.

“I think that there are ups and downs with Napa but the overall trend line is a downward trend in terms of case rates,” Relucio said.