Quebec to collect data on race, economic status of COVID-19 patients, director of public health says

By Basem Boshra, CTV Montreal

MONTREAL -- Quebec community groups have been calling on Quebec to collect race-based data on COVID-19 patients, and on Wednesday the province indicated it would do so.

Horacio Arruda, Quebec's national director of public health, told reporters Wednesday that the province does indeed intend to compile such data.

"Yes, this information will be collected," Arruda said at the province's daily COVID-19 briefing in Quebec City, noting that the data could be useful "especially if there (are) risk factors from certain communities that could be related to genetics."

Arruda did not provide specific details, but told reporters he would look into which demographic details the province will collect.

Groups such as the Montreal-based Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), have said data that includes factors such as the race and economic status of COVID-19 patients is essential to understand the spread of the virus, particularly in poorer and more ethnically diverse boroughs such as Montreal North, which has become the hardest-hit in the city in recent weeks.

“We are concerned about the high rate of infection in these areas, but existing data only focus on age and gender," CRARR executive director Fo Niemi said in calling for more specific data. "There are no indicators based on race, language and income status to allow for more accurate measurements of COVID-19 infection and death in a city as diverse as Montreal."

Toronto began collecting race-based data in April, and Niemi noted that the collection of such data also already takes place in the United States and United Kingdom.

There are now 2,510 people who have died of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities announced Wednesday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 34,327.

That’s up 112 from the 2,398 deaths reported Tuesday; COVID-19 cases in Quebec rose 910 from the 33,417 announced a day earlier.

There are 1.840 people being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals as of Wednesday, up 19 from the 1,821 reported Tuesday. Of those in a hospital, 213 are in intensive care, down five from the 218 reported 24 hours earlier.

There are 1,240 people waiting for COVID-19 test results in Quebec as of Wednesday, up 526 from the 714 reported Tuesday.

The number of people in Quebec who have recovered from COVID-19 as of Wednesday was 8,284, up 361 from the 7,923 recoveries reported a day earlier.

With 17,442 cases, Montreal remains the region of the province hardest hit by COVID-19; you can see a regional breakdown of COVID-19 in Quebec here.


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