VDH Playing Catch Up

by Carol J. Bova

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has made two major recent changes on the COVID-19 dashboard.

On June 15, under Race and Ethnicity in the demographics tab, VDH moved about 20,000 cases between categories and added 380 total new cases.

Category              Cases reduced by…    To                 New % of Total Cases

White                               6,051                  11,266                20.5%
Other                            10,997                     1,455                  2.7%
Not Reported                3,245                  13,837                25.2%

Four new categories:

Asian/Pacific Islander                               1,862                    3.4%
Latino                                                          18,580                33.9%
Native American                                              65                   0.1%
Two or more                                                   138                   0.3%

Interestingly, the Black category lost many fewer than the others, showing an increase of 28.

Black                                                            7,683                 14.0%
Total:                                                         54,886

Now if VDH could identify the nearly 14,000 still in the Unknown category, there might be a chance of understanding any differences in racial/ethnic impacts of COVID-19.

On June 12, the other change was to manually enter 43,000 faxed PCR lab tests and results by the lab report date, not previously in the testing count. The resulting graph shows the uneven and slow increase in the rate of testing. What it can’t show is almost 3,800 tests with 1,660 positive results that had no date, but are included in the total PCR test encounter number of 476,573.

Carol Bova is a writer living in Mathews County.

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4 responses to “VDH Playing Catch Up”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    No one has challenged my previous assertion that the death certificates do reflect those demographics, and frankly dying worries me more than just getting sick. I am also 100% certain the hospitalization records would reflect the demographics. If the data gnomes really wanted honest information on this in Virginia, they have everything they need. The narrative is too useful to actually test, because it might not hold up. If I’m wrong about the death certificates, somebody pipe up please.

    1. The records may have the info, but take a look how VDH has used them.
      Here’s the catch: The census bureau says Latino is not a race, can be white or black. So we can’t compare VDH and CDC stats to the census demographics of % of total population by racial breakdown.

      Asian/Pacific Islander_____ 1,862 _ 3.4%
      Black_________________ 7,683 _ 14.0%
      Latino_______________ 18,580_ 33.9%
      Native American___________ 65 _ 0.1%
      Other_________________ 1,455 _ 2.7%
      Two or more_____________ 138 _0.3%
      White_________________11,266 _ 20.5%
      Unknown______________ 13,837 _ 25.2%
      Total_________________ 54,886 _100.0%

      Asian/Pacific Islander_______ 317_ 5.7%
      Black__________________1,351 _ 24.2%
      Latino_________________ 1,886_ 33.8%
      Native American_____________4 _ 0.1%
      Other___________________ 133 _ 2.4%
      Two or more_______________ 15 _0.3%
      White__________________ 1,657 _ 29.7%
      Unknown________________ 225 _ 4.0%
      Total_________________ _ 5,588 _ 100%
      Hospitalizations went up by 52 and VDH reduced Other by almost 1,500, White reduced by just under 600, Unknown reduced by 117 and increased Black by 18.

      Asian/Pacific Islander_________ 86 ___5.5%
      Black____________________334 __21.5%
      Latino___________________156 __ 10.1%
      Native American_____________ 1 ___ 0.1%
      Other____________________24 ___1.5%
      Two or more_______________ 1 ____ 0.1%
      White__________________ 840 __ 54.1%
      Unknown_______________ 110 ___ 7.1%
      Total __________________1,552 _100.0%
      Deaths increased by 6, VDH reduced Other by almost 1,300, White reduced by 92, Unknown by 4 and Black increased by 1.

      CDC breaks out Hispanic as a separate category and reports non-hispanic white and black and other categories, but not white or black hispanic.

      Race and Hispanic Origin Group for the U.S.
      Total Deaths_________________ 95,608
      Non-Hispanic White_ __________ 50,935 _ 53.3%
      Non-Hispanic Black____________21,993 _23.0%
      Non-Hispanic American Indian
      or Alaska Native ________________543 _ 0.6%
      Non-Hispanic Asian_____________4,962 _ 5.2%
      Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian
      or Other Pacific Islander ____________71 _ 0.2%
      Non-Hispanic More than one race_____232 _ 0.2%
      Hispanic or Latino______________15,751 _16.5%
      Unknown ____________________ 1,121 _ 1.2%

      CDC on Virginia will take some time to sort out. Will post it later.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    I saw this : ” CDC: Patients with underlying conditions 12 times as likely to die from virus
    The new data from the first four months of the pandemic is consistent with earlier reports showing the disproportionate impact the disease has on some groups.”

    are we keeping this metric? we must if the CDC is saying so, eh?

  3. Thank you for spotlighting this, CJB. Of course the data are confusing: imprecise & overlapping definitions, incomplete information from the sources, inconsistency among relevant agencies, and bureaucracy dragging its feet. The impact on Latinos is, on its face, startling — yet who knows how many Latinos are being reported as “Black” and end up in the ‘Non-Hispanic Black’ column? And those unreported 14,000 . . . .

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