Oakland County Executive David Coulter is launching efforts to gather more data that allows public health officials to fully analyze the county’s COVID-19 data on the basis of race and ethnicity. As of April 9 at 12:30 p.m., the county currently had information about the race of close to 52 percent of Oakland County residents who have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
“It is vital to have racial data during this pandemic to help understand the breadth of COVID-19 and which communities it is impacting, especially since we know health disparities by race are well established,” said Coulter. “Because racial data is not always collected by labs or for other reasons, Oakland County Health Division is taking proactive steps to revisit each case lacking racial data to build a more complete picture.”
“I applaud Oakland County for recognizing the need to evaluate demographic data related to the spread of COVID-19,” said Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14). “To get a better understanding of the disproportionate impact on communities of color, we must have the ability to analyze data to implement recommendations to the unique challenges of impacted populations.”
Residents can view the percentage of cases by race on the county’s coronavirus website, OakGov.com/COVID. Close to half of positive cases in Oakland County are missing racial or ethnic information. Recent expansion of the county’s case investigation team and changes to the case investigation process will proactively gather race and ethnicity information for past and future cases.
“In Oakland County, African Americans comprise 13.7 percent of Oakland County residents, but at this point represent 24.4 percent of our COVID-19 infections,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “We expect to see a continuation of racial disparities in our cases as more data is gathered.”
“While this information helps us paint a picture, I stress that any of us is at risk of getting COVID-19. All of us must take the maximum precautions. Follow the governor’s orders and take all recommended preventative actions,” Coulter said.
As of 1 p.m. April 9, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Oakland County was 4,558, with 289 deaths.
For more information, go to Oakland County’s COVID-19 website at OakGov.com/COVID. Residents with questions about the disease should call the Heath Division’s Nurse on Call phone line at 1-800-848-5533. Residents with non-health needs and questions should call 248-858-1000.
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media & communications officer, at (248) 858-1048.