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Public Health updates death data on COVID-19 dashboard

Kern County Public Health Services Department

To ensure patient privacy, Kern County’s COVID death data is updated as enough data accumulates to prevent identification of the deceased. While data is a tool to help our community better understand the impacts of this disease, it is our responsibility to adhere to HIPAA guidelines.

COVID-19 death data is reviewed bi-weekly to determine if we have met the criteria set forth by our HIPAA statistician to release more information related to these deaths. At this juncture, we still do not meet that criteria. However, we have determined that by combining the previous race/ethnicity categories of “Asian” and “Other” we can meet the conditions of release of information. The “Other” category is now compromised of the following race/ethnicities: Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, those who identify as multiple races, and those who identify as a race not listed. Combining these categories prior to now would not have met the criteria to provide an update, as additional categories did not meet the threshold for release.

Below are key findings in the updated COVID-19 death data:

• Ages 65+ continue to be the most affected age group, accounting for 67.5 percent of all deaths. The 65+ age group is very disproportionately affected, as it only makes up 11.6 percent of Kern’s population.

• There have been no deaths in children under the age of 18.

• A majority of deaths continue to have comorbidities. Hypertension and diabetes are the two most common comorbidities reported.

• Hispanics account for 60.2 percent of COVID-19 deaths, while Kern’s Hispanic population is 52.6 percent. African Americans make up 6 percent of the population and have 5.9 percent of the deaths, which is proportionate. White and Other are less affected, respectively having 34 percent and 7.4 percent of the population, but only 28.9 percent and 5.9 percent of deaths.

• Males account for 60.2 percent of deaths, while only accounting for 50.8 percent of the population.

Kern County Public Health offers our deepest sympathies to all of those who have lost family, friends and loved ones due to this disease. This data is a reminder of the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on our community.

To view the updated COVID-19 dashboard, visit our COVID-19 webpage at http://www.kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus/.