May 20, 2020

Catholic Charities' Spanish-language Zoom Session Offered Expert Guidance for the Latino/Hispanic Community on Preventing, Identifying and Dealing with COVID-19  

More Than 170 Individuals Participated in Event as the Hispanic Community is Hit Disproportionately Hard by the Pandemic   

ARLINGTON, Va. - Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington hosted “La Vida Durante La Pandemia COVID-19” last night, a virtual Spanish information session on the impact of COVID-19 on the Latino/Hispanic population. The session, which took place over Zoom, had more than 170 participants and was designed to serve as an informational meeting on preventing and dealing with the virus and to offer concrete assistance for situations that may arise from its impact. During the session, experts offered medical information; guidance on mental, emotional, and spiritual health; and legal information for immigrants.

“The Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit by this virus. Our organization is working to ensure our resources go to where need exists. Offering data, best practices, prayers, and our services is a way in which we can assist those hit disproportionately hard during these uncertain times,” said Art Bennett, president and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. “The fact that so many participated demonstrates there is great need. And many registrants also represented their spouses, mothers, fathers, grandparents or children. We want community members to know we are with you through this pandemic, whatever your need may be.”

Recent data released by the Virginia Department of Health shows that, while the Latino/Hispanic population makes up 9.6 percent of the state, Latinos/Hispanics represent 45.9 percent of COVID-19 cases.

The Zoom information session included the following:

  • Identifying the signs, symptoms, testing, treatment, and prevention of COVID-19 (Ivette Valenzuela-Yu, PhD, MPH, nurse practitioner, professor, and Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic volunteer),
  • Mental and emotional health tips during the pandemic (Cristina Melendez, Catholic Charities mental health clinician)
  • Spiritual health and wellness during this trying time (Fr. Juan Puigbo, St. Gabriel Catholic Mission, Manassas Park)
  • Common immigrant legal questions during pandemic (Stacy Jones, Program Director, Catholic Charities Hogar Immigrant Legal Services)
  • Q&A

Dr. Valenzuela-Yu noted, “The impact the virus is having on the Hispanic community is particularly profound. Many in our community are working on the front lines, in grocery stores, restaurants, and the cleaning and construction industry. That means using personal protective equipment and social distancing as well as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching the face are key protective measures we're encouraging.”

Catholic Charities will announce future sessions at

Interested media, please contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

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Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington serves the poor and vulnerable who live within the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese of Arlington, which is led by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Catholic Charities provides food for the hungry, a free medical clinic for adults including prenatal care, adoption services, transformational housing for the homeless, mental health counseling, emergency financial assistance, prison ministry, workforce development, and immigration and refugee services. Catholic Charities serves all, regardless of faith.