SACRAMENTO, California — Hundreds of California’s Filipino Americans are at risk for contracting the coronavirus but have yet to be tested, according to a new survey conducted by Filipino American researchers at the University of California in Davis.
Despite the fact that 41 percent of the respondents reported they or other members of their household were health care workers, 93 percent said they still had not been tested. The statewide survey covered 800 Filipinos over 10 weeks.
Additionally, 56 percent of the respondents said they were living with people with pre-existing health conditions that would put them at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Yet 41 percent said they did not know where the nearest testing facility was.
“This shows me how information is being sent out there,” said Roy “RJ” Taggueg, a UC Davis doctoral student and the survey’s lead researcher told the Sacramento Bee. “Is that information easily accessible for Filipinos? … It’s not.”
“Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, chair of the UC Davis Asian American studies department and director of the Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, said, “My hunch is … (Filipino) home health care workers are providing care in sites that have gotten very little attention and are often highly unregulated.”
Rodriguez reported that one respondent said his Filipino colleagues in other care facilities were being pushed to work more hours with Covid-19 patients.
Guest workers’ debt bondage to job recruiters or illegal immigration status, combined with the pandemic, make many Filipinos vulnerable to employer pressures.
Taggueg said Bulosan Center did the survey with help from community organizers because the last comprehensive study of the community “was conducted in the late 1990s.”
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