Community Testing and SARS-CoV-2 Rates for Latinxs in Baltimore. Academic Article uri icon


  • Latinxs have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Latinx immigrants, in particular, face significant barriers to SARS-CoV-2 testing, including lack of insurance, language barriers, stigma, work conflicts, and limited transportation.In response to a disproportionately high SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate among Latinxs at the Johns Hopkins Health System, investigators implemented free community-based testing by partnering with religious leaders and leveraging the skill of trusted community health workers. Data were extracted from the electronic health record and a Research Electronic Data Capture database. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was evaluated per event stratified by race/ethnicity. Total rates of SARS-CoV-2 positivity and categorical patient characteristics were compared between groups using chi-square tests.Between June 25, 2020 and October 15, 2020, a total of 1,786 patients (57.5% Latinx, 31.2% non-Hispanic White, 5.9% non-Hispanic Black, and 5.3% non-Hispanic other) were tested for SARS-CoV-2 in 18 testing events. Among them, 355 (19.9%) tested positive. The positivity rate was 31.5% for Latinxs, 7.6% for non-Hispanic Blacks, 3.4% for non-Hispanic Whites, and 5.3% for patients of other races/ethnicities. Compared with Latinxs who tested negative, Latinxs who tested positive were more likely to report Spanish as their preferred language (91.6% vs 81.7%, p<0.001), be younger (30.4 vs 33.4 years, p<0.008), and have a larger household size (4.8 vs 4.3 members, p<0.002).Community-based testing identified high levels of ongoing SARS-CoV-2 transmission among primarily Latinxs with limited English proficiency. During this period, the overall positivity rate at this community testing site was almost 10 times higher among Latinxs than among non-Hispanic Whites.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.

publication date

  • December 2021