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Pregunte al Doctor: Health care provider to offer COVID-19 info sessions in Spanish

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MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee health care provider wants to make sure language doesn't become a barrier for people to fully understand the coronavirus and how it spreads.

Dr. Jorge Ramallo

"This is a time of a lot of anxiety and a lot of concern in the community right now," said Dr. Jorge Ramallo of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers.

Understanding the spread of the coronavirus is crucial, but for some, a large amount of the information is coming down in a language they might not understand.

Alison True

"The south side is predominantly Spanish speaking or Latino, Hispanic," said Alison True with Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, "The majority of the patients we see, about 86% identify as Latino and 80% of them prefer to be spoken to in a language other than English."

The health center on Milwaukee's south side wants to make sure language does not become a barrier for patients. The area has recently seen a spike in positive COVID-19 cases.

"That has led the state to identify it as a hot spot in Milwaukee," True said.

After speaking with their patients, the clinic realized that many people were misinformed on the deadly virus.

"Some people underestimated the risk they have," Ramallo said.

They are launching a Facebook Live series to address the concerns of anyone in the community they serve. It's called "Pregunte al Doctor" -- in English, "Ask the Doctor."

"The point of doing this in Spanish is to provide our patients not only the information, but the opportunity to ask questions and to be able to get a response live and not have to wait on the phone," said Ramallo.

Sixteenth Street is also doing drive-thru tests for the coronavirus through appointments. The health care provider said contrary to what some may think, they are accepting new patients. So far, 99 patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

"That's been one of the issues for them to understand, this is something very real and present and it is present in our community as well," Ramallo said.

Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers will be hosting Facebook Lives in Spanish every Wednesday through the month of April.

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