GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

NE Wisconsin’s Hispanic community hit hard by coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — At Casa ALBA Melanie, phones are ringing nonstop.

“We are getting way too many phone calls a day,” Maria Plascencia, a Director’s Assistant at Casa ALBA Melanie told Local 5 Wednesday.

She explained that most callers are concerned about their safety at work, and about what will happen if they stop working.

“Many of these families are undocumented and cannot file for unemployment,” she explained. “Not having enough money for rent and utilities because one or both in the household are unemployed.”

There are also calls by an increasing number experiencing symptoms.

“We have been hit hard by this,” Plascencia said of Green Bay’s Hispanic community.

That issue was highlighted when a spike in COVID-19 was traced to JBS’ Green Bay meat plant, which employs a large number of Hispanic workers.

JBS has temporarily closed, but other plants in the area remain open.

Plascencia has taken calls from some of those workers.

“They’re worried about going back to work,” she said. “They don’t know what to do.”

Casa ALBA Melanie is working to connect members of the community to answers and resources, answering the calls that are hard to take.

“You can tell that they feel miserable, nauseated, and the headaches and the chills and the high fever and on top of that, the financial situation,” Plascencia said. “Where’s the money? Where am I going to get the money from?”

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