It has been nearly three weeks since the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in Fresno. Even with the shelter-in-place order in effect, the number of confirmed cases are rising. As of March 30, 2020, the Fresno County Department of Public Health has confirmed 53 positive cases (Galaviz, 2020). Health officials anticipate the number to keep rising and urge Fresno residents to stay inside to stop the spread. Although there is concern for the general public’s health, many officials are urging more attention to those in the community who are more susceptible to contracting the virus. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) those considered to be at high risk for contracting COVID-19 include:
- People aged 65 years and older
- People with chronic lung disease
- People with moderate to severe asthma
- People with serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised (those with cancer and HIV/AIDS)
- People who are pregnant (CDC, 2020)
An article by the National LGBT Cancer Network addressed LGBTQ+ people’s concern for being at higher risk for COVID-19. According to medical professionals, LGBTQ+ people who are at higher risk are those who use tobacco, are HIV positive, and who have cancer. They explain that members of the community “use tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than the general population” and have “higher rates of HIV and cancer” (Dizon and Jesdale, 2020). These factors leave an individual more vulnerable to the virus. The article also mentions that LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities that affect the impact that COVID-19 has on those members in the community (Dizon and Jesdale, 2020). Health disparities is defined as the difficulty that certain groups experience in having access to health care and high quality of care because of their race, socioeconomic status, age, sexual orientation or gender identity (Healthy People, 2020). This definition reflects the hesitancy people in the LGBTQ+ community may have in utilizing health programs or receiving medical care for fear of being harassed or discriminated against. It is an important factor that people should consider in their efforts to ensure the health and wellbeing of every individual during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important now than ever, for all people to take the precautions to protect their health. It is of equal importance to consider the health of others, especially those who are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. According to the CDC, individuals should clean hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, practice social distancing of at least six feet, and to constantly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to avoid the spread of the virus (CDC, 2020). If you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately and avoid contact with others.
Stay informed about COVID-19 in Fresno and the Central Valley by visiting Fresno Bee for updates.