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OHA report shows COVID continues to disproportionately affect non-whites

In this file photo, a health technican at the Ko-Kwel Clinic in north Eugene administers a COVID shot to a patient.

Communities of color remain consistently affected by COVID-19 at higher rates than whites, according to an Oregon Health Authority review.

OHA’s latest year-in-review report shows that in both 2020 and 2021, Black, Native American, and LatinX Oregonians suffered higher rates of hospitalizations and death than whites. Researchers list lack of access to health care, lower-income jobs, crowded work spaces, and distrust in government as factors.

Kelly Rowe is the executive director of health services for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. She said OHA’s finding matches what she’s seeing this year as well.

“We are still having fairly high rates of COVID infection out at Grand Ronde. Right after the labor day holiday weekend, mostly BA.5. This most recent variant is incredibly infectious, the congregating of people, it rose pretty significantly.”

OHA says data on race was available for 73 percent of all reported cases last year.

©2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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