Report: Ethnic groups have harder access to COVID-19 testing
Access to COVID-19 testing may be disproportionately harder for Hispanic and Latino Oregonians to come by, according to a report released by the Oregon Health Authority on Friday, Feb. 19.
The report on COVID-19 race, ethnicity, language and disability data highlights the impact of the disease on specific racial and ethnic groups, as well as challenges faced by those with language, disability and health access barriers, health authority officials said.
Oregon lawmakers passed a law last year requiring health care workers to collect such information during health care visits related to COVID-19. Oregon health care workers began collecting data last October.
Hispanic and Latino Oregonians made up 28.4% of COVID-19 cases, according to the report while making up only 9.8% of health care encounters. Health care encounters can include both negative and positive COVID-19 tests. OHA officials believe the disparity in the data may be evidence that access to testing is insufficient for these groups.
Language barriers also may continue to be a problem as well. Patients requested more than 100 non-English languages, according to the report.
Nearly 30% of cases and 25% of health care encounters involved patients who either did not speak English well or at all.
Officials said future versions of the report will break down the data by county to draw a more complete picture.
The report was released on the same day that state health officials reported no new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, keeping the state's death toll at 2,149.
The health authority also reported 492 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 152,190.
State health officials reported that a cumulative total of 755,657 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered. That is 82% of the 922,300 doses of vaccine that have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 176, which is six more than Thursday, Feb. 18. There are 49 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is three fewer than Feb. 18.
The new cases were reported in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (25), Clackamas (27), Columbia (12), Coos (26), Curry (8), Deschutes (11), Douglas (21), Harney (3), Hood River (2), Jackson (52), Jefferson (5), Josephine (23), Klamath (10), Lake (3), Lane (38), Lincoln (1), Linn (8), Malheur (6), Marion (42), Morrow (5), Multnomah (61), Polk (15), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (12), Union (4), Wallowa (2), Wasco (1), Washington (54) and Yamhill (12).
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Pamplin Media Group. Their story can be found here.
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