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Facing The Coronavirus With Swim Goggles. The Unequal Toll In LA Nursing Homes

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COVID-19 has killed nearly 1,000 people in Los Angeles County who lived or worked at institutions – mainly nursing homes. A new collaboration between KPCC/LAist, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun and The Southern Illinoisan found there's one thing that distinguishes the nursing homes that have reported the highest number of deaths: their residents are mostly black and Latino.

Race and Latino origin turned out to be a major predictor of whether a nursing home has a COVID-19 outbreak, we found, even after accounting for a facility's location, federal quality ratings, size and infection rate in the surrounding community.

We looked at what happened at one, hard-hit nursing home in L.A., Buena Ventura Post Acute Care Center, to try to understand how the virus spread there so quickly.

The facility in East Los Angeles, whose residents are mostly Latino, has experienced one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the county, according to public health data. So far 83 workers and residents have been infected with the virus, and twelve of them have died.

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Alma Lara-Garcia, a certified nursing assistant who worked at Buena Ventura and got infected with the coronavirus, shared her experience of the early days of the outbreak.

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