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Public Health officials in Ottawa seek to understand the intersection of race and COVID-19

Ottawa Public Health is gathering race and socio-economic data from COVID-19 patients, in an effort to better serve at-risk communities.
By: Heather Marie Connors
June 08, 2020
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Following consultations with community groups to determine what to ask and how, the associate medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney confirmed that socioeconomic and race-based data was being collected from COVID-19 patients in Ottawa. The aim is to better understand the experience of the virus in different populations, in order to establish best practices for public health organizations. Dr. Moloughney and Ottawa's board of health chair Councillor Keith Egli, acknowledge that racism is a public health issue.

"There's no doubt that COVID-19 has affected everyone in our community in one way or another," Egli said. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ottawa Public Health has been aware and has worked hard to address the fact that racialized communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus. We know that these communities are not only more at risk to contract COVID-19, but also face prejudice, racism, and in some cases verbal and physical assaults. Racism is a significant public health issue."

Although there is no schedule for when the data will be released to the public, Dr. Moloughney did note the release will follow another round of community consultations, to ensure the information is prepared in a meaningful way that avoids reinforcing stigma.

Source: CTV News


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