State releases initial race and ethnicity data for COVID-19 cases

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is releasing all available race and ethnicity data on reported cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The race and ethnicity data released today represents 75% of all reported COVID-19 cases. Cases with an unknown race or ethnicity are excluded from these calculations.

Initial disease reports to public health are often missing information on race and ethnicity. CDPHE is drafting a public health order to clarify the type of data the department needs from health care entities. The public health order will help the department have a more complete dataset moving forward.

Using the data available now, the percentage of cases is statistically higher for Hispanic, Black/African American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Coloradans compared to the overall population distribution. The following graph has more complete information about the percentage of cases and deaths by race and ethnicity:

Here are the cases collected and analyzed by race/ethnicity by number:*

Total: 5188 cases with race and ethnicity data
American Indian or Alaskan Natives (non-Hispanic): 24 cases, 0.46%
Asian (non-Hispanic): 116 cases, 2.24% (statistically lower)
Black or African American (non-Hispanic): 363 cases, 7.00% (statistically higher)
Hispanic: 1,458 cases, 28.10% (statistically higher)
Multiple racial categories (non-Hispanic): 96 cases, 1.85% (statistically lower)
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic): 29 cases, 0.56% (statistically higher)
Other: 38 cases, 0.73% (no test performed as population data do not include ‘other’)
White (non-Hispanic): 3,064 cases, 59.06% (statistically lower)



Here are the deaths among cases collected and analyzed by race/ethnicity by number:

Total:  249 deaths among cases with race and ethnicity data
American Indian or Alaskan Natives (non-Hispanic): 2 deaths, 0.80%
Asian (non-Hispanic): 7 deaths, 2.81%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic): 17 deaths, 6.83%
Hispanic: 44 deaths, 17.67%
Multiple racial categories (non-Hispanic): 3 deaths, 1.20%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic): 4 deaths, 1.61%
Other: 0 deaths (no test performed as population data do not include ‘other’)
White (non-Hispanic): 172 deaths, 69.08%



Colorado has racial disparities in certain chronic diseases due to unequal access to health care and economic opportunities occurring over many generations. Because studies have shown people with underlying health conditions are more likely to die of the virus, tracking racial and ethnic data is a high priority for the department.

“We know that social and health care inequities affect outcomes, and that becomes even more apparent in times of disaster,” said Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, Executive Director of CDPHE. “There have been generations of institutionalized barriers to things like preventive medical care, healthy food, safe and stable housing, quality education, reliable transportation, and clean air. Research shows that these types of factors are the most predictive of health outcomes. There is much to be learned from this disaster, and the uneven effects of COVID-19 on different communities will perhaps be one of the most profound lessons. It’s apparent now more than ever why we must bridge these inequities and even more closely track the outcomes of COVID-19 by race and ethnicity.”

CDPHE is working continuously on data analysis and will update case data by race/ethnicity and other factors as it is available. Starting tomorrow, CDPHE will add race and ethnicity data to its daily refresh of data.

*Unless otherwise indicated, the percentage listed is not statistically different from the general population distribution.

 

This story was posted on April 13, 2020.