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Sun Dec 27, 2020, 06:27 PM

The Pandemic Is Hitting Hawaii's Filipino Community Hard

When Jenny Delos Santos got her COVID-19 positive test result in April, it was only the latest hit in what was already a terrible year.

Santos had been on leave from her job as a news assistant — mourning the deaths of her two adult children prior to the pandemic — when she found out she was laid off in late March. She was already sick, and got tested for coronavirus that same day.

By the time she got her positive test result more than a week later, Santos no longer had her Honolulu Star-Advertiser health insurance. As it became harder to breathe and her cough worsened, she hallucinated, seeing angels on her husband’s shoulder. She later learned hallucinations are, for some, a side effect of the virus. Despite how sick she felt, Santos didn’t want to see a doctor and risk adding to her existing medical debt.

Santos is among thousands of Filipino residents in Hawaii who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the islands nine months ago. According to the state Department of Health, Hawaii’s Filipino community makes up 16% of the state’s population, but compose more than a fifth of confirmed cases. That’s the second-worst disparity in the state, behind only non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders. As of Friday, 226 Filipinos have been hospitalized and 58 have died.

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/12/the-pandemic-is-hitting-hawaiis-filipino-community-hard/

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