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TN Department of Health adds race and ethnicity to COVID-19 data

Race and ethnicity of confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients will now be listed alongside factors like age and county on TDOH's website.
Credit: TDOH

TENNESSEE, USA — Governor Lee announced that COVID-19 data on the Tennessee Department of Health's website will now include race and ethnicity on Wednesday. 

The governor said the state's methodology for obtaining the data is currently utilized by the CDC. 

"We're trying to get the word out that testing is important for every single Tennessean" Lee said. "This data will give us some insight in whether we are proportionally testing folks in every demographic." 

Of the 4,362 cases reported by the Tennessee Department of Health, race is only listed for 1,598 of those people.

That data shows 1,140 people with coronavirus are white, 320 are black, 106 are labeled as other/multiracial, and 32 are Asian. The state is still waiting for racial information for 2,764 cases.

Per ethnicity, 155 people are Hispanic or Latino, 2,349 are not Hispanic or Latino, and the stat is still waiting for ethnic data from 1,858 cases.

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The release in race and ethnicity data comes after the Center for Disease control released a report saying black Americans are at significantly higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. 

It is a troubling statistic government officials also say they have seen in the state. 

"African-Americans have a higher rate, even in Tennessee," Dr. Piercy said. 

At this time, TDOH has White, Black or African-American, Other/Multiracial, Asian, and Pending on the site.  Currently, the "Pending" data set currently represents the largest number of cases in Tennessee at 63.36 percent. 

"Some of 'the data' we either haven't been able to contact the person or in some instances people don't want to give us that data," Dr. Piercy said. 

Officials said the new data set is important to ensure Tennesseans "across the board" are granted access to testing.

The state, as well as Knox County, are also breaking cases down by age.

The age range with the highest number of cases is 21-30 with 943 cases.

The Knox County Health Department said that may be because that age group is likely to still be working and moving about the community.

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