PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County officials announced they will start including race in their reports of the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to the coronavirus.
So far, 80 Caucasian people have been hospitalized, and 18 have died. Among African American patients, 22 people have been hospitalized, and 1 person has died. There has been no other deaths from a patient of any other race, but there have been 5 other patients of an unspecified race who have been hospitalized. The race of 23 hospitalized patients is unknown at this time.
In a press release from the county, Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said it was important to monitor race in COVID-19 cases because of people of color’s disproportionate poorer health outcomes.
“More than half of COVID-19 test results that come to the Health Department through the PA National Electronic Disease Surveillance System do not contain information on race,” the press release said. “To respond to this limitation in the data, the Health Department recently started to ask about race during case investigation interviews.”
This data will be included in the county’s COVID-19 debriefings.
Testing data by race is not being shared as of now because of missing data. The county health department said they would share that information “when we are confident it is correct and useful.”
“The entire staff at the Health Department and I are committed to providing data to the public that is accurate and informative and that examines issues of equity. We are in the process of refining our dashboard to do so,” said Dr. Bogen.
The county has already been documenting the break-down of cases by gender and age.