Since the pandemic hit, there’s been a whole lot of grant money being made available at the federal, state and local level.

This week there was more as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) awarded grants to five North Carolina organizations to help address the effect COVID-19 is having on the state’s Hispanic and LatinX communities.

The following five groups will get $100,000 each in grant money to support disease prevention measures in various high-risk communities across the state: the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina Inc. (AMEXCAN), El Centro Hispano, Latin American Coalition, Qué Pasa Media Network and True Ridge.

According to a Friday, June 26 press release from NCDHHS regarding the grants, the money is to be used for “prevention practices such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and frequent hand-washing; access to COVID-19 testing; engagement with contact tracers; participation in quarantine and isolation measures; and coordination with NCDHHS messaging around these efforts.”

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen stated that these organizations should be best able to address the issue among the targeted communities.

“Hispanic/LatinX North Carolinians are strong and resilient, and we are investing in that strength,” Cohen said. “We are committed to working with the people on the ground who know their communities best.”

So far in June, North Carolina has seen a sustained increase in cases of COVID-19 in the population as a whole, with a disproportionately high percentage of cases statewide occurring among “historically marginalized populations.” In particular, the state’s Hispanic/LatinX communities are being hit very hard by the coronavirus. They represent about 44 percent of the state’s cases where race and ethnicity are known.

NCDHHS also pointed out Friday that many people in the Hispanic and LatinX communities work in essential services and industries such as construction, childcare and food processing.

“Often, this work is in environments where social distancing can be challenging, health insurance is not provided and for a sick person, staying home could create a significant financial burden,” state health officials stated in the June 26 release. “These are all factors that may be contributing to the high rate of COVID-19 spread among Hispanic/LatinX communities.”