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New Hotline For Members Of LGBTQ Community Hurt By Pandemic

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(Screenshot of Equality California's new COVID-19 website)
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So far, not much is known about the extent of COVID-19 cases in California's LGBTQ community. That's because sexual orientation among infected individuals is not currently being tracked.

A bill introduced by Bay Area State Senator Scott Wiener wants to change that. Earlier this month, SB932 was approved by the health committee and referred to appropriations.

The Los Angles-based civil rights organization Equality California, which backs Wiener's bill, said there's already evidence that the LGBTQ community is at risk, both financially and physically.

This week the organizatoin launched a site to connect people with services to help with health and money issues.

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Executive director Rick Chavez Zbur says the LGBTQ population is especially vulnerable, because they're overrepresented in hard-hit industries like food service and retail.

They also may have underlying health conditions — LGBTQ people have higher rates of smoking and asthma, for example, and HIV — that put them at more risk from COVID-19.

"We know that folks who are immune suppressed are more likely to contract it and are more likely to have serious health consequences – high rates of cancer, low rates of health insurance and health access."

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