A three-day pop-up event will be held this week to address the healthcare needs of the county’s Latino population.

With a focus on the northside of Lebanon city, specifically in the 17046 ZIP code, the Healthy You pop-up series will take place at five locations over three consecutive days, from Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, July 3, beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding at 2 p.m.

“The Healthy You pop-up series is multiple events, at multiple locations simultaneously,” said George Fernandez, CEO of marketing firm Latino Connection. “We wanted our outreach to be in places where people feel most comfortable. Places like grocery stores, health stores and other places they visit.”

While the event will address various health concerns, there is special focus on providing information about COVID-19, according to Nicole Maurer, Executive Director of the Community Health Council of Lebanon County. While this particular pop-up series is geared toward the Latino community, healthcare outreach in other demographic groups is still ongoing, Maurer added.

Read More: Researchers, advocates tackle COVID-19’s disproportionate toll on Latino community

“We know anecdotally that our Latino community, in particular the 17046 ZIP code, has been impacted by the coronavirus, so we’ve been doing outreach events since the start of the pandemic,” Maurer said. “We’ve been really focusing on getting information out to the community, [as well as] masks [and] hand sanitizer. But also the ability to speak to a community healthcare provider in person has been very important to us.”

The free event series is a continuation of the outreach that’s been happening since the virus struck the United States in mid-March, Maurer added.

“The purpose is to do more outreach and to check in with people and ask them, ‘How are you doing? Do you need anything? How can we help?'” said Maurer.

The COVID-19 portion of the outreach will highlight where people can go to get tested in Lebanon County, what it means to be diagnosed asymptotic versus symptomatic, the importance of wearing a mask in public places, and other measures people can take to help protect themselves from this insidious disease, noted Maurer.

Read More: Unanimous support for mask wearing from Lebanon County congressional reps, but local GOP officials hold back

Fernandez said the virus has hit the Latino population especially hard, given certain existing, underlying health issues within that demographic.

“Latinos in Pennsylvania are the number-one disproportionately affected community as it relates to diabetes and obesity, and it starts with our kids and it starts with our teenagers,” Fernandez said. “And that really boils down to the fact of not having healthy nutrition at home. Latinos tend to cook with a lot of fats and a lot of oils, and portion plates — we don’t use portion plates — and we tend to oversell ourselves in the carbohydrates. Those two conditions, diabetes and obesity, are really what the virus looks for in people — those people with compromised immune systems.”

Other health-related information will be available, and healthcare workers from eight healthcare systems will speak individually with attendees about their overall well-being and their health concerns.

“We are really doing outreach around summer health and really talking to people about getting back to regular wellness care,” Mauer said. “We know that during the pandemic people have been avoiding normal care in regard to other illnesses that they have, whether it be diabetes or heart disease, or just general check-ins with their physician, pediatric visits, and things like that.”

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There will be information about summer health and eating healthy portions of food. The healthcare partners will also have information about establishing, or returning to, a healthcare routine, benefits of the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) program, and why individuals should be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Fernandez said a goal of the Healthy You pop-up series is to proactively pursue delivering important healthcare information to people in a safe environment.

Latino Connection and the county health council agency will implement procedures to ensure pop-up guests are not exposed to COVID-19, including, among other things, hosting the rain-or-shine event at outdoor locations since the likelihood of it spreading are much lower in that type of setting.

“Latino Connection is following Centers for Disease Control-recommended guidelines. This is why we are targeting five or six locations and having it over several days, so that not too many people are congregating at the same time at the same location,” Fernandez said. “We’re also placing foot mats, which are physical-distancing stickers, so people can be at a safe distance. And all of our team members will be using masks.”

Here is a list of the five participating locations:

  • Ceballos Bakery
    381 N 9th St.
    Lebanon, PA 17046
  • The Bridges at Church Street
    950 Church St.
    Lebanon, PA 17046
  • Ideal Food Basket
    640 N 7th St.
    Lebanon, PA 17046
  • Edwin Mini Mart
    200 Lehman St.
    Lebanon, PA 17046
  • Latin American Super Market
    429 N 9th St.
    Lebanon, PA 17046

Both Fernandez and Maurer expressed gratitude for the support the Healthy You pop-up series has received from local organizations and city officials.

Eight to 10 healthcare providers are expected to participate, according to Maurer.

“One thing that is really important is the number of healthcare providers we have partnering on this project,” she said. “In fact, all of the outreaches we’ve had over the last few months have really included all of our healthcare providers in the county, which I think is just wonderful.”

“As far as Latino Connection is concerned, that’s our goal — to bring organizations together because together we are stronger,” Fernandez said. “When multiple organizations come together to reach one common goal, the results are much, much bigger. Latino Connection is happy to be a catalyst to bring these organizations together in the community and connect the resources that exist out there.”

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James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; Lancaster...


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