Public Health: Hamilton’s Racialized Population, Health-Care Workers, and Low-Income People Most Impacted by COVID

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Handout/Hamilton Public Health Unit

Proportion (%) of COVID-19 cases identifying as white or a visible minority, City of Hamilton, Mar 1 – Aug 31, 2020.

Hamilton’s Public Health Unit (PHU) says initial socio-economic data collected during COVID-19 “suggests that racialized populations, health care workers and people living with low-income are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in Hamilton”.

The data is based upon 992 reported COVID-19 cases in Hamilton between March 1 and August 31, 2020. Of the 992 cases, 630 of the individuals responded with at least one answer to a social determinant questionnaire provided by the PHU.

Dr. Richardson’s staff state the results should be interpreted “with caution due to limitations: data is based on
those who were tested and low response from some groups.

50.9% of the respondents to the questionnaire identify as a member of a visible minority. The 2016 Census found visibly minorities are only 19% of Hamilton’s population, thus visible minorities are significantly and disproportionately acquiring the COVID-19 virus infection.

Hamilton’s Black community is most impacted, with 14% of those who tested positive for COVID-19 identifying as Black.

Of the COVID positive cases, 27.1% identified as being low income. The 2016 Census states 18.9% of Hamiltonians are low income.

43.1% of COVID cases experienced by visible minorities occurred in low income households. 14.6% of cases experienced by white individuals occurred in low income households.

20% of reported COVID-19 cases occurred in healthcare workers, the PHU report states.

“There are more female COVID-19 cases than male cases in Hamilton, largely driven by gender differences in the healthcare worker occupation”, the report states.

“Male cases were more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die when infected with COVID-19”, the report continues.

“COVID-19 has highlighted pre-existing inequities: racialized
populations, health care workers and people living in low-income have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in Hamilton”, the report states in its key findings.

Dr. Richardson and Public Health staff will make a full presentation of the findings during the Monday, October 21 Hamilton Board of Health meeting which begins at 1:30pm that day.

The report is available as Item 9.2 of the Hamilton Board of Health Agenda.

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First published: October 14, 2020
Last edited: October 14, 2020
Author: Joey Coleman

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