New county data shows racial disparities in COVID-19 cases

New information from Santa Clara County’s Health Department suggests that COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on certain communities.

As of Wednesday, nearly 36% of the county’s 2,000 cases are among Hispanic/Latino individuals, who are 25% of the county’s population. Meanwhile, white residents represent 19% of COVID-19 cases, but are 31% of the county’s estimated 1.93 million residents.

Santa Clara County is estimated to be nearly 39% Asian or Pacific Islander according to Census information, but is 22.5% of the recorded COVID-19 cases.

While death rates from COVID-19 for Asian and White residents more closely align with population percentages, Latinos make up 32% of the county’s COVID-19 deaths – seven points above their proportion of the county population.

County leaders were quick to note that a lack of broad testing, and gaps in data, mean the information is not complete. Nearly 17% of cases in the county do not have racial or ethnicity data attached.

“We are committed to providing the public with accurate and timely information that can be used to inform public action to protect residents and patients,” Dr. Cody said in a statement.

The information is part of the county’s effort to understand how a range of social factors impact health outcomes.

“The County recognizes that social determinants of health, including race/ethnicity, employment, and income may significantly affect the distribution of cases and the severity of cases across the community,” the announcement read.

Cody hopes that the information will help county officials make the most-informed decisions moving forward.

“What we’re seeing across the country, is the importance of understanding those social determinants of health and understanding how they can inform our actions to better prevent, control, and mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” Cody said.

This race and ethnicity data is now part of the county’s coronavirus data dashboard.