A Baltimore City delegate is calling on the state to release additional data regarding patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Del. Nick Mosby said the additional data could potentially allow public health officials to better understand and address the disease in minority communities. The state currently provides infection data by ZIP code.
“Without a complete picture of the ZIP code data, it is difficult to understand the totality of this virus and develop a comprehensive plan of action,” Mosby said in his letter. “This data will only aid in ascertaining who is getting access to testing and accessible healthcare to effectively and efficiently protect our citizens.”
Maryland added 709 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning, bringing the state’s total to 27,117. Nearly 1,300 people have died from the disease in Maryland since the fist cases were reported on March 5.
The racial data was based on Tuesday’s totals, which had 125 deaths and 9,424 cases of infection. The data shows that more than 40% of people who died were African-American, nearly 42% were white, 6.4% were Hispanic, more than 3% were Asian, and nearly 1.5% were classified as other. For 6% of the deaths, a race was unknown.
About 30% of the state’s population is African American.
African Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. People with these types of underlying conditions are more likely to be seriously affected by COVID-19.
Mosby called for the state to release information on the number of positive and negative tests by ZIP code of residency as well as the number of hospitalizations by race.
“Based off the data that has been released, when you compare Baltimore to other hot spots in our nation, Baltimore fits many of the characteristics—densely populated, urban areas with a large amount of health disparities that are already existent,” wrote Mosby. We cannot fully examine the disproportionalities already presented to us if we do not have the complete picture of the data. We need this real time to data to ensure we have the resources to go after the areas of concern and to fully understand the totality of this virus. The data provides us with the information we need to micro-target these areas from an engagement, testing, and from a treatment perspective.”
Mosby said he has not received responses from Gov. Larry Hogan or officials at the Maryland Department of Health.
Last month, Mosby wrote a similar letter asking for the same data as well as the release of aggregated COVID-19 information by ZIP code. Soon after, Gov. Larry Hogan and the state Department of Health began publicly releasing the data.
“We appreciate all of the letters we have received from Delegate Mosby, and his leadership on this issue,” said Michael Ricci, a Hogan spokesman.