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Out of 14,000 pregnant women with COVID-19, Latinas account for 50 percent

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 3 days ago Ashlie Rodriguez/ABC7
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Nationwide and here in the DMV, pregnant Latina women are disproportionately contracting COVID-19. ABC7’s Ashlie Rodriguez sat down with the Montgomery County Health Department to discuss what’s happening and how we can stop the spread in the Hispanic community.

This comes after Mary’s Center, a health clinic in D.C., said it tested more than 200 pregnant Latinas, and nearly 70 percent came up positive for COVID-19 in August.

“There’s been some really tragic stories of pregnant women who had to have emergency c-sections because they could no longer have it in them to keep the baby,” said Rebecca Smith, administrator over Child Health Programs at the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

They’re on ventilators. There was a Takoma Park mom that actually died. They delivered her baby emergency c section and she died. There’s been a lot of tragedies in the community.

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The numbers from Mary Center reflect what the CDC is finding -- that out of 14,000 pregnant women with COVID-19, it’s Latinas who make up half that number. Smith explained by the Latina population is being hit so hard.

I think that’s some of the population we’re working with the new Latino immigrants are doing that kind of work where they can’t be safe, they can’t stay at home if they want to make money, they can’t always social distance.

With a larger Hispanic population in Montgomery County, Smith said she is working to tailor and specifically target safety information, working with community groups, obstetricians and through Spanish-speaking media to make sure mothers know how to protect themselves.

Smith said although babies don’t automatically contract coronavirus from their mother or get it through breast milk, the virus takes its toll on the mother, leading to premature births. She says their goal to bring the rate of positivity down among Latinas, stress the importance of getting tested and COVID-19 protocols. 

“The stuff that we’ve all been doing and saying for months now, wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance and if you’re pregnant it’s all the more important,” Smith said.

For more information on testing in Montgomery County, visit mococovidtesting.org.

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