March 21, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Stats‌con reports that the COVID-19 mortality rate is higher in neighborhoods with more visible minorities

According to Statistics Canada, residents of communities home to minorities most likely to die from COVID-19 in Canada’s three largest provinces, in a trend health professionals are emphasizing the need for provinces such as BC and Quebec to improve their data collection. On race and death.

Report The Stats‌con was released late last month examining the COVID-19 mortality rate in “ethno-cultural neighborhoods”, with communities inhabited by more than 25 percent visible minorities in BC having an age-adjusted COVID-19 mortality rate of less than 10 percent less than the visible minority Than the neighborhoods.

In Ontario and Quebec, the age-adjusted mortality rate is three times higher than in neighborhoods with large visible minority populations.

COVID-19 deaths in the ethno-cultural environments of BC are ten times higher than those of the vast population of Canada, partly associated with a lower common mortality rate in this province.

As of Monday, 299 of the more than 11,000 people across Canada had died in BC.

Statistics Canada analysis compiled when there were less than 200 coronavirus deaths in BC. This analysis is part of a growing literature that shows that the minority communities found in Canada are more affected by the virus than the general population.

Dr Andrew Boozari, executive director of social medicine and population health at the University Health Network in Toronto, said it is important to have specific, reliable data so that the affected population can be protected.

“We were not a leader before that and it was very costly not to allow our response to be as accurate as we expected, but it also did not allow us to improve the response as quickly as we could.”

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‘It is important to collect that data’

Unlike Ontario, Quebec and BC still do not collect data to identify which communities are most at risk, or why they are at risk.

One of those calls was that Kasari Govender, BC’s human rights commissioner, said data on COVID – 19 deaths and race was urgently needed to establish why members of various coronavirus-infected groups were dying at high rates and how to fix it.

BC Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govendar said the BC government should consult with the affected communities on how to collect and use data on the species of Kovid-19 cases. (Herald Dupuis / CBC)

“I think it’s very important to collect that data,” Govender said, whose office is a Report “Now, we’re going to get the data overnight. So the sooner we start collecting data, the sooner we can work and better, stronger policies.”

BC Health Ministry spokesman Stephen May said in a statement that Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry was supporting the collection of the data, but “due to the increase in cases and the demand for public health resources, data on the species are not currently being collected. Excluding data on conservation and ingenuity.”

BC is working with the federal government within the national framework to collect such data, May said.

The other jurisdiction is not waiting for Ottawa.

More data on Ontario

There is Ontario Collecting data Several months on socioeconomic indicators including race and income.

There is the city of Toronto Has been released Such data, and the results have highlighted serious concerns about how structural racism and health outcomes are affected, Dr. Boozari said.

“We see more than 80 per cent of cases occurring in visible minorities and we see 50 to 60 per cent of cases in low-income households,” he said.

Dr. Andrew Boozari, Executive Director of Population Health & Social Medicine at the University Health Network in Toronto, says the low-income and non-ethnic population is suffering from a number of diseases and COVID-19 is no different. (Presented by Dr. Andrew Boozari)

“It’s not about error in people or societies. These are structural defects, structural racism, we allow it to happen because of structural discrimination against certain populations.”

In cities where neighborhood or ethnic-specific data has been released, it is clear which groups are most affected.

In Toronto, Data show that Black, South Asian, Arab, Southeast Asian and Latin American communities are over-represented in COVID-19 cases. Whites and East Asians were under-represented. It also showed that households with an income of less than $ 50,000 should be over-represented in certified cases.

Quebec does not collect race or income data on certified COVID-19 cases, but has released Montreal Public Health neighborhood-level data on apparent minority status, income level and housing compatibility compared to census data from CBC News 2016.

Of the CBC Analysis The highest number of COVID-19 cases was reported in Montreal, found in neighborhoods with black people and high-density housing.

No data in BC

In BC, it is not known which groups are most affected, as the province does not collect data.

Dr Henry told Punjabi-language media outlets last week that there was an unequal increase in COVID-19 cases in BC’s South Asian population. The spread of the virus is not related to the species, but to conditions such as indoor meetings and events, allowing it to spread.

Govender said there are different elements for different categories. For example, Filipino workers are more likely to be in frontline, public-facing jobs, such as care that cannot be done from home. She said the indigenous population, which is not included in Canada’s definition of a visible minority, will face challenges in obtaining the health care they need.

“So there can be different reasons and we need to understand those reasons in order to solve problems effectively.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry says BC is now experiencing its second wave of COVID-19. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

Boozari said the fact that COVID-19 is high in low-income and ethnic groups should not come as a surprise.

“When you look at anything from diabetes to cancer to the conditions of the heart and lungs we have, it has always been more concentrated in people living in poverty and in racist societies,” he says.

“Most everyone in public health may have a clue where COVID is most concentrated, due to structural vulnerability, the impossibility of having certain populations and neighborhoods.”

One such situation is congested homes, which is a significant problem in the most affected areas of BC.

Lack of space

Boojary and other researchers interviewed by CBC News all defined statistics Canada as dwellings that do not have adequate bedrooms, home size and composition, indicating a risk of COVID-19 because it is difficult or impossible to isolate an infected family member.

The most congested neighborhoods in 2016, the most recent year where census data was available, were mostly in the north end of Surrey, 45 minutes east of Vancouver, which has the highest number of South Asian residents. And new immigrants.

Surrey is also the city with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in BC.

Health officials in BC have not released COVID-19 data, which is more granular than the city level, so it is largely unknown where more cases have been reported.

Khim Tan is the Deputy Executive Director of Employment and Immigration Services with the Community Re-Training Options Community Services Society in North Surrey.

Tan said it has been a challenge for many years for newly arrived immigrant families to sometimes find eight or 10 homes. Many, however, close in basement suites in Newton, Wally or Guildford because those areas are more affordable and home to immigrant communities from many countries.

COVID-19 fully addresses the issue of insufficient space.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of newcomer families, especially large families … who don’t have the luxury of going to a big place when a family member is infected.”

Tan says Fraser Health has done a good job of creating and translating culturally specific health information such as how to mask with a turban or hijab, or how to celebrate Diwali safely.

Dr. Henry warned people living in intergenerational homes to think about seniors or others when considering risky activities such as indoor fitness classes.

BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said many cases of COVID-19 in the province have been identified from indoor meetings and events. (Mike MacArthur / CBC)

But public health officials have been silent or vague on how to isolate or reduce transmission in homes that do not have enough space for a large number of people, or what the concept of a “safe six” for a family of 10 is.

When CBC News asked the BC Center for Disease Control what guidance was available to the public in these circumstances, we asked Tip sheet For residents of apartments and multi-unit buildings.

Despite the lack of official guidance, Tan says people care about each other.

“We have families living in very limited areas and there are obviously COVID cases. But one thing we have found is … families are resilient. They find ways to manage. They find ways to isolate a family member. Stay with COVID in sick or hard places,” she says. .

“There is support in bringing food to a family because they can’t leave the house because they have to be alone by themselves. So we’ve seen amazing behavioral changes.”