New DHS dashboard displays impacts of COVID-19 by race, ethnicity
Communities of color disproportionately affected by virus, data says
Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
WISCONSIN – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Wednesday, Oct. 21 released a new data dashboard that displays COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by race and ethnicity. This new visualization helps illustrate some of the unequal health impacts of COVID-19 in our communities, particularly among people of color. The race and ethnicity dashboard (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/disparities.htm) is part of an ongoing effort to close health disparities throughout the state by promoting tools and resources centered on health equity.
“COVID-19 reminds us of the fact that every person’s health is intertwined with the health of their neighbors in our communities,” Governor Tony Evers said. “Our Black neighbors, Tribal Nations, Latinx communities, and other communities of color are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. While we cannot reverse systemic health inequities overnight, we can all come together to protect our neighbors by practicing good public health. When we stay home, wear masks, stay six feet apart, and wash our hands, we are also promoting the health and safety of all Wisconsinites.”
Data displayed in this dashboard is obtained when a person who tests positive for COVID-19 is asked to identify with a race category and with or without a Hispanic ethnicity. The information will highlight the progression of the outbreak to-date and patterns of infection that may change as the pandemic continues. The dashboard will also provide necessary insight into the health inequities that have been exacerbated by the virus.
Underlying factors contribute to these gaps in health outcomes experienced by communities of color such as policy choices, discrimination and racism, housing, income, or accessibility to health care. Called social determinants of health (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/minority-health/sdoh/index.htm), these social factors have been and continue to be shaped by racism and discrimination, which create unfair vulnerabilities and barriers for these populations. Despite these barriers, many Tribal nations and communities of color have limited the devastating impacts of COVID-19 in their communities by working together and taking public health precautions seriously, such as limiting their activity out in their communities, wearing face coverings, and physical distancing.
“DHS is continuously trying to address, through public health and healthcare, the role it plays creating, perpetuating, and exacerbating systemic racism,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Along with the Governor’s Health Equity Council (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/hec/index.htm), this new data dashboard will help us identify health inequities throughout the state and help provide actionable solutions to better meet the needs of those in our communities significantly impacted by this crisis.”
Learn more about health equity at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html.