AUSTIN, Texas - More data has been added to the Travis County COVID-19 dashboard. The number of cases reported in the area as of Friday afternoon was 642. The dashboard also displays the demographics of those cases, race, ethnicity, gender, sex and age.
The department recently included the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19, which stands at 128, and the number of people hospitalized, which stands at 72. The death toll Friday afternoon was at seven, however, what the dashboard doesn’t present is the make-up of those who have died.
In a White House briefing Tuesday, public health leaders discussed health disparities in the African American community. Pflugerville councilman Rudy Metayer was pleased to hear local and federal leaders recognize there are communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“We are talking about COVID-19, we are not talking about this being a race issue,” Metayer said. “We are talking about this being a policy issue systemically with people of color, low-income families with socio-economic backgrounds this has affected them for generations and COVID-19 has just pushed to the forefront of this.”
The state is not reporting demographics on who is dying either. In a press conference Wednesday, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said the race and ethnicity of people who have died from the virus may not be asked at times.
“The data that we have that relates to ethnicity is incomplete but we are trying to make that better and refine it and hope that it is something that can be reflected as the truth that we can report in the future,” Dr. Hellerstedt said.
Now that the issue in the forefront, Metayer hopes to see the racial disparities in health addressed after COVID-19 has gone.
“My hopeful praise is that because of the people looking at this issue because this issue is in the forefront for not just people of color but the entire country that it will be addressed moving forward so we can all work in unison to improve not just how these conditions affect regarding COVID-19 but how these conditions affect these people period moving forward,” Metayer said.
A spokesperson for Austin Public Health said they will consider adding demographics for people dying from the illness in the future.
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