Survey: Overwhelming number of Filipinos have not been tested for COVID-19 in CA

Filipinx Count! The Filipinx/Filipinx-American Health and Well-Being Survey is conducted by Fil-Am researchers of the Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at the University of California in Davis.

The survey, which was participated in by about 800 Filipinos in California in a span of 10 weeks, found that:

  • 41 percent of respondents said they or other members of their household are healthcare workers
  • 93 percent said they have not been tested for COVID-19
  • 56 percent said they live with people with pre-existing conditions that would put them at greater risk for the virus
  • 41 percent said they do not know the nearest testing facility

RJ Taggueg, UC Davis doctoral student and survey lead researcher and Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, chair of the UC Davis Asian American studies department and director of the Carlos Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, further talked about their findings.

The whole point of this is that California Filipinos are at risk. Why is that so? Are they just not getting the information?

“There’s certainly an element to that. Because what the survey is showing us is the factor of the matter is Filipinos are out there. They’re out there on the frontlines. They’re out there working as healthcare workers or at the very least have someone in their household, somebody they live with who is a health care worker, as well. At the very least, that implies there’s a lack of information out there,” says Taggueg.

Is that on the part of the community or maybe the CDC or the greater sense of things why do you think it’s not accessible to Filipinos?

“I don’t put the onance of the community itself. This is regarded to those institutions. If you are hiring someone to do this kind of work, to be a healthcare worker on the frontline. You have the responsibility to make sure they’re also protected.”

Speaking of which, Dr. Rodriguez, these Filipinos, our community members, a lot of them who are working in the medical field who may know or may not know the risk they continue to work. Why is that so?

“The truth is Filipinos are coming here as guest workers, as temporary migrants. And part of the experience here is because you have recruitment agencies that are often charging exorbitant fees to help facilitate their migration here,” says Rodriguez. “These OFWs who work in the US come with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and yet they are only here to work for a short period of time.”

I wanted to talk a little more about the survey itself. The survey didn’t exactly start out with being a coronavirus survey.

“So when first designed the survey it originally had seven modules. And yes, it covered a lot of different topics including migration, politics, family, interpersonal relationships, education, health and healthcare, labor. Very, very broad. It ended up being over 150 questions. And we had launched that version of the survey in February and a month later is when the shutdowns happened. But we knew though one of things we really strive for is that work that we do is based in community. We work with over 100 partners across the state over at the Bulosan Center.”

The Bulosan center is still taking in participants for the survey.

Follow this link to the survey, which can be also found online on Balitang America.

A Tagalog version of the survey will be offered soon.

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