SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utah health officials are concerned with the race and ethnic disparities in the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
“Approximately 28 percent of our cases identify as Hispanic or Latinx, but they only make up 14-percent of the Utah population,” Dr. Angela Dunn, State Epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health said Tuesday, during a daily press conference.
Doctor Dunn points to disparities in the healthcare system as a reason for the disparity.
“We know that our healthcare system has lots of health disparities throughout this country and throughout time. This pandemic is shinning a particularly bright light on these health disparities. We are going to be working closely with our local health departments and our communities to better understand this disparity and how to best address it. We are certainly committed to be doing our part to make sure that all Utahns are healthy throughout this epidemic.”
While data shows access to testing hasn’t been a problem, Dr. Dunn says “stay home” recommendations could play a factor.
“If you think about what we’re asking people to do — we’re asking you to stay at home, not go to work, isolate yourself from others. People who are able to do that, have money, have a job that’s able to give them paid sick leave to stay at home, and have a home big enough to isolate away from others. So I think our recommendations are definitely preferential to higher socio-economic status and leave those communities who are more desperate, bearing a bigger burden of COVID-19.”
The data released on Tuesday was preliminary. The full data set will be available later this week.