Report outlines how race, language and household size impacts chances of getting COVID-19
KITCHENER -- Skin colour, childhood language and household size all play a role in the chance of someone getting COVID-19 in Waterloo Region.
A new staff report was presented to the region's Board of Health meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
A similar report was presented last November, which showed visible minorities, low-income households, and households where English and French wasn't a first language were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Wednesday's report showed this continues to be a serious issue.
The analysis was based on data from 9,897 COVID-19 cases between July 17, 2020 and March 24, 2021. The research showed COVID-19 cases are two to three times higher among people who identify as visible minorities or Black than would be expected compared to the latest census data.
Cases are 1.5 times higher among people from large households than would be expected, and two times higher among people who speak a "non-official" childhood language.
"I think the one thing the pandemic has shown us is that we do need to dedicate resources to those people that are impacted by the social determinants of health," said Adele Parkinson, acting director of Region of Waterloo Public Health.
Public health officials said they're working to address the inequity by targeting high-risk areas in vaccine rollout.
"We would look at ways to ensure that we can continue to collect the information we need in order to better inform our planning and the programs and services we would design in partnership with those impacted communities," Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said. "The pandemic has definitely shown us that these types of efforts are really worth it and we will plan to continue going forward beyond the pandemic as well."
Pre-registration is now open to people 45 and older in high-risk neighbourhoods.
The vaccine task force also addressed supply issues, saying the region is expecting more temporary clinic closures due to fluctuations.
"Our supply of Moderna and AstraZeneca continues to be unstable at this point," Dept. Chief Shirley Hilton said. "We don't have a confirmed shipment belong the May 3rd allocation, but we are seeing that our Pfizer allocations are increasing through the month of May."
Public Health has five pop-up clinics planned starting this week.
Dr. Wang said there are signs of stabilization in the region, but said the area remains in a precarious position as case counts rise, along with hospitalizations and deaths.