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Vancouver committee pushing province to collect race-based COVID-19 data

Last Updated Jun 8, 2020 at 10:02 pm PDT

FILE -- This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID-RML via AP

The Racial and Ethno-Cultural Equity Advisory Committee is joining a call to collect race-based data

Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung supports the call, saying it's crucial in order to measure the unequal impacts of the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Hoping to better grasp the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on marginalized communities, one City of Vancouver advisory committee is pushing for the necessary next steps.

The Racial and Ethno-Cultural Equity Advisory Committee is joining a call that has gone out not just in B.C., but across the country, stating that the collection of data on how hard the pandemic has hit people of colour, is of utmost importance.

“This is really raising the flag about the need for this data, and the fact that it would quantify, I think, what a lot of people are anticipating, and help to make data-based decisions moving forward in the future,” says Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung, who is the council liaison to the committee.

“I think there’s been a recognition that oftentimes people of diverse cultural backgrounds may be more on the frontlines and therefore may have more exposure to COVID. That’s in addition to other factors –whether they may be more frequent transit users or inequities in terms of shelter access.” Kirby-Yung said.

RELATED: Canada’s ‘colourblind’ coronavirus data could leave officials blind to racial inequities

While much of this information is tracked anecdotally, the group has found that all of these things can have an effect on living space and whether or not someone has been able to properly self-isolate or quarantine over the last few months.

The committee wants to ensure that any data compiled contributes towards a culturally safe health care system.