Meck County sees rise in Hispanic COVID-19 cases, construction site outbreaks

CHARLOTTE — A trend we have been tracking for weeks has taken a troubling step forward. People in the Hispanic community now make up the majority of cases in Mecklenburg County at 34.5%.

According to the census, Hispanic and Latino families make up only 13.6% of our population.

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Government reporter Joe Bruno heard from county Health Director Gibbie Harris on Tuesday, and she pointed out a new outbreak that could be behind the disparity.

The county said it is starting to see a larger number of COVID-19 cases involving construction workers, but at this point, there have been no construction sites that meet the NCDHHS outbreak standards.

County leaders declined to say where workers were contracting the coronavirus but said they are working with the construction companies and sub-contractors.

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As of Tuesday morning, Mecklenburg County had 2,695 positive COVID-19 cases and 69 people had died because of the virus.

In terms of age or race and ethnicity of cases across the county, Harris said a third of the cases are among Hispanics and are between the ages of 20 and 39 -- and rising rapidly. The county is planning to target messaging to the Hispanic community.

"This is a group we are really going to need to bear down on with this communication plan we are talking about and getting information to them about masking and social distancing," Harris said.

the CDC is recommending construction workers wear face coverings on the job and they also are discouraging the use of shared tools and equipment.

In addition, Harris noted she has observed three things over the last 14 days: hospitalizations in the county are stable, the percent of positive cases has decreased slightly, and testing has increased.

>> Joe Bruno will break down the numbers and have much more on this story on Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.