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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Santa Ana Activists Argue More Green Space and Affordable Housing Key to Fighting Pandemic's Spread

A line of cars waited to turn into Santa Ana High School one January morning where a sign advertised free COVID-19 tests in Spanish. It stretched back half-a-mile, past homes in the surrounding working-class neighborhoods that were still adorned with Christmas decorations, including Catholic shrines to the Virgen de Guadalupe. Latino Health Access, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit, helped transform Orange County’s oldest high school into an orderly testing site amid the coronavirus pandemic’s winter surge.

At the time, the ZIP code around the campus held a test positivity rate of 28%, well above the county’s average of 19.5%.

Elsewhere in the city, streets, neighborhoods and businesses are dotted with bilingual “Protect Santa Ana” signs. The message urges residents to practice the basics of coronavirus prevention: face coverings, hand washing and social distancing. It’s part of a joint campaign by the city, the Santa Ana Unified School District, Latino Health Access and the OC Health Care Agency that began in early December.

But Santa Ana, a majority Mexican city with a sizable immigrant population, hasn’t always been on the same page politically where it concerns public policy and the well-being of its residents.

Read more on my contribution to KCET's "Power and Health" Project:

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