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66 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa from racialized groups: Dr. Etches

Josh Pringle, Digital Multi-Skilled Journalist
Wednesday June 24, 2020

OTTAWA -- A majority of the Ottawa residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past six weeks were visible minorities and immigrants to Canada, according to Ottawa Public Health.

The health unit provided an "early socio-demographic data" report to city council on Wednesday.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says since May 8, 66 per cent of the 144 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been from racialized groups. The report from Ottawa Public Health shows 54 per cent of the new cases are immigrants to Canada.

"This is preliminary, but the pattern we're seeing is that we're seeing over-representation of people who are racialized," said Dr. Etches.

The medical officer of health notes that while 66 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa are from racialized groups, 26 per cent of Ottawa's population are identified as a visible minority.

Dr. Etches says areas in Ottawa with the highest proportion of recent immigrants or racialized minorities have rates of COVID-19 almost twice that of areas with the fewest recent immigrants or racialized minorities. (The data excludes COVID-19 cases in long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, shelters and group homes).

The report also said that areas in Ottawa with the "most material deprivation have rates of COVID-19 almost twice that of areas with the least material deprivation."

Dr. Etches told Council that Ottawa Public Health is collecting data retrospectively to have a more comprehensive socio-demographic picture of the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa.

Positive trend of COVID-19

The medical officer of health told Council the COVID-19 trend in Ottawa is "positive."

Dr. Etches says the case counts are decreasing, and the number of hospitalizations is continuing to drop. The report for Wednesday's Council meeting said COVID-19 testing volumes is up, while the per cent of positive cases is down.

As of June 23, there are 2065 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, including 262 deaths.

Dr. Etches told Council there is still an "ongoing risk" of COVID-19 in Ottawa, and it's important to continue to practice physical distancing.


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