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More than 170 tune in to webinar in Spanish offering guidance on COVID-19

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More than 170 participants tuned in to an online information session May 19 on life during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the coronavirus on the area’s Spanish-speaking population. 

The session, hosted on a Zoom videoconference by diocesan Catholic Charities, was designed to offer practical advice to Spanish speakers on preventing and dealing with the virus, and provide a forum for those with questions. Experts offered medical information; guidance on mental, emotional, and spiritual health; and legal information for immigrants. 

“The Hispanic community has been particularly hard-hit by this virus,” said Catholic Charities President and CEO Art Bennett. “The fact that so many participated demonstrates there is great need. And many registrants also represented their spouses, mothers, fathers, grandparents or children. We want community members to know we are with you through this pandemic, whatever your need may be.”

Recent data from the Virginia Department of Health shows that, while the Latino/Hispanic community makes up 9.6 percent of the state’s population, it accounts for 45.9 percent of COVID-19 cases. 

Nurse practitioner Ivette Valenzuela-Yu, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at George Mason University in Fairfax and a volunteer at Catholic Charities’ Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, spoke about how to identify the symptoms of COVID-19, as well as testing, treatment and prevention. 

“Many in our community are working on the front lines, in grocery stores, restaurants, and the cleaning and construction industry,” she said. “That means using personal protective equipment and social distancing. Frequent hand-washing and avoiding touching the face are key protective measures we’re encouraging.”

Catholic Charities mental health clinician Cristina Melendez provided mental and emotional health tips and Father Juan A. Puigbó, parochial vicar of All Saints Church in Manassas with special care of St. Gabriel Mission in Manassas Park, discussed ways to maintain spiritual health and wellness during this trying time. Stacy Jones, program director of Catholic Charities’ Hogar Immigrant Legal Services, responded to common legal questions immigrants have been asking during the pandemic.  

Find out more

For more on the webinar and information on future sessions, go to http://www.ccda.net/covid-19webinar/.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020