Community Testing and SARS-CoV-2 Rates for Latinxs in Baltimore

Benjamin F. Bigelow, Ronald E. Saxton, Alejandra Flores-Miller, Heba H. Mostafa, Manisha J. Loss, Katherine H. Phillips, Adrianna M. Moore, W. Daniel Hale, Tina M. Tolson, Nicki S. McCann, Christina L. Catlett, Sherita H. Golden, Jeanne M. Clark, Kathleen Raquel Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e281-e286
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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