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Coronavirus: Which LA Neighborhoods Are Being Hit The Hardest?

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With the constant rise of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County, health officials have now broken down which neighborhoods are being hit the hardest.

The public health department has launched an interactive section on their website where you can find out who and which area is being affected most.

One of the things revealed by the data is that the highest death rates are in poor areas.

Neighborhoods like East Hollywood, Pico-Union and Westlake have four times more deaths compared with the rest of the county.

Many neighborhoods in South L.A. — including Vermont Square — also had a higher number of cases and deaths.

Jim Mangia is the President and CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Centers, a network of non-profit health care centers that serve South Los Angeles. They are providing free COVID testing to residents at several sites.

"What we're seeing is that the poor are disproportionately impacted," said Mangia.

"It's critical during a pandemic to reach out and serve those who historically have been excluded from services. We want to be able to diagnose them, triage them, and get them treatment before their symptoms get much much worse."

L.A. County health officials said people who live in lower-income communities are three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those in wealthier communities.

To bring down the death rate, health officials said more access to testing, early treatment, and care are needed.

"We're seeing social determinants, we're seeing issues of chronic disease that have been festering in low-income communities because of that lack of access is making them more vulnerable," said Mangia.

According to health officials, overcrowded housing conditions can cause the virus to spread quickly. That is the case in neighborhoods like Pico-Union and Westlake.

"We want to make sure we can isolate them so that we can prevent them from spreading...The African-American community, the Latino community, the undocumented," said Mangia.

Mangia said their efforts don't stop at testing and triage.

"Next week we're going to begin a contact tracing program where we're going to call every patient who tests positive and we're going to trace their 10 closest contacts and we're going to invite those folks to come in and be tested as well," he said.

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