The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on California farmworkers: Better local data collection and reporting will improve strategic response

Edward Kissam
2020 Statistical Journal of the IAOS  
Providing the public with relevant and reliable statistical information about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations is a crucial weapon in effective public health system response. This article examines the reporting challenges confronted by local public health agencies based on a case study of farmworker communities of the San Joaquin Valley, Eastern Coachella Valley, and Salinas Valley. The analysis includes a quantitative estimate of the impact COVID-19 has on farmworker households
more » ... and highlights how socioeconomic factors and housing conditions give rise to health disparities. The importance of local data collection and reporting as the foundation for a national epidemiological tracking system is emphasized. Current shortcomings stemming from flawed national guidance and local political pressures are noted. The discussion includes detailed recommendation for improved reporting including: more systematic tabulations of available data, an expanded set of indicators to monitor public health system response, promising approaches to improve representativeness of test-derived data on COVID-19 by making it easier to access testing and support services, coupled with messaging to broaden farmworkers' and other socio-politically marginalized populations' willingness to seek testing. Understanding the challenges faced and lessons learned in the San Joaquin Valley region have practical implications for a wide range of countries.
doi:10.3233/sji-200763 fatcat:jmi5njc22jcsppvcurdfzvbm54