Allegheny County has released coronavirus data by race | Health | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Allegheny County has released coronavirus data by race

UPDATE: 2:40 p.m., Thu. April 23:
As of today, out of 1,149 positive coronavirus cases in Allegheny County, 625 of them were of white people, which makes up 54% of cases. Black people made up 17% percent with 193 cases. Asians were 13 cases, or a little over 1%. The remaining 315 cases were of patients were race was unknown or yet to be determined.

Of the 204 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus in Allegheny County, 69% were of white patients, 22% Black patients, and 1% Asian. Out of the 69 deaths, 61% were white, 13% were Black, and 26% were of people were race was unknown or yet to be determined.

Allegheny County is home to more than 1.2 million people. About 80% of the county's population is white, 13% is Black, 3.7% is Asian, and 2% is Latino.

Original story published April 11:
In places like Chicago, St. Louis, and Louisiana, coronavirus infections and deaths have hit Black people especially hard.

In Allegheny County, where Black people make about 13% of the population and are the county's biggest minority group, it has been unknown how COVID-19 has been effecting the county's Black population. For the first few weeks of the virus, county officials and organizations were not collecting data on race, but were collecting age and gender data.

Today, the Allegheny County Health Department announced it has started collecting coronavirus data on race and has released its first racial breakdowns.

As of April 11, there have been a total of 130 hospitalizations due to coronavirus. Of those, 80 have been white people (61%) and 22 have been Black people (17%). Allegheny County is 80% white and 13% Black. Of the 130 hospitalizations, there are 23 where the race is unknown.

According to a press release, Health Department director Dr. Debra Bogen said monitoring COVID-19 data by race is important because the Health Department knows that communities of color already have poorer health outcomes in Allegheny County, and it is critical to know if COVID-19 is affecting those communities to a greater degree.

There have been 19 total deaths as of April 11, and 18 of them have been white people and one has been Black.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m., April 11
White - 80
Black - 22
Other - 5
Unknown - 22
Total - 130

White - 18
Black - 1
Other - 0
Unknown - 0
Total - 19

The county health department says it's not yet reporting test data by race because currently half of the testing data is missing. According to a press release, the health department is "developing strategies using other demographic information to evaluate inequities and will share information when we are confident it is correct and useful."

Earlier this week, a group of Black community leaders in Pittsburgh called on Allegheny County, state, and federal officials to start collecting coronavirus data on race.

“If we can use the data, we need it at the neighborhood level, by race, by gender, so we can use mitigation for the next [pandemic],” said UrbanKind Institute president Jamil Bey on April 7.

Though complete racial breakdowns of all testing in Allegheny County are still unavailable, there are neighborhood breakdowns that may provide some insight on how race data for coronavirus. For example, the predominantly Black neighborhoods of Homewood and the Hill District have a small number of reported cases. But Glen Hazel is leading the county in the percentage of cases per 10,000 residents, and Glen Hazel is 58% Black.   

Dr. Bogen said Allegheny County is committed to providing data breakdowns by race and are in the process of doing so.

“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 in a press release.

City Paper will be updating this story as more data becomes available.

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