Mendota currently has 8 confirmed cases of the coronavirus but Mayor Rolando Castro says he thinks the number is higher.
Rural farm towns like Mendota are home to large populations of undocumented people. Many of those undocumented residents think getting tested will lead to other problems, Castro says.
“They’re worried because of their legal status, that they’re undocumented, so they don’t want to get tested because they think that they’re going to be held by ICE or held by somebody and be deported,” said Castro.
Castro says a lot of people in the town get their information off social media which he says can be misleading. Community activist Ofelia Ochoa agreed.
“I dropped off masks to a family that was too scared to even walk outside, which I understand. But that fear they have can easily be calmed with access to the right resources,” said Ochoa.
Ochoa and two of her friends are trying to fight the misinformation by providing facts about testing. They‘re also making and delivering masks and lunch bags to residents. Still, Ochoa wishes there were more community organizations to help people understand the importance of getting tested.