A report by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services shows that COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Latino and black community.
Race and ethnicity is known for about 79 percent of cases in New Hampshire.
Latinos account for about 7 percent of those cases; and African Americans for 5.6 percent. As a percentage of the population, New Hampshire is 3.9 percent Latino and 1.4 percent black.
Dr. Trinidad Tellez is the director of the office of health equity at the state’s health department. She says long-standing health and social inequities are at play, and that New Hampshire’s data is following a national trend.
“We know that historically these groups have often had less access to healthcare,” she said. “Whether that’s having access to providers or access to health insurance, a lot of people work in job sectors where they may not be even offered the option of health insurance so they may go without. Or they may be underinsured.”
But Tellez says that access to healthcare is just one factor in health outcomes for people.
“Eighty percent of our health is determined by other factors,” she said. That includes things like education, income, family and social support, community safety, air and water quality, housing and transit” are also factors that determine health.
All those things contribute to an individuals and communities’ health status, she says.
“COVID is just unmasking the long standing challenges some of our sub-populations face on a regular, constant basis,” she said.
And that places communities at more risk during a pandemic.
In addition the current demographic data, Tellez says she hopes to see race and ethnicity data around testing in the state.