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California increases COVID-19 data collection to include gender, sexual orientation

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – California is changing the way it’s collecting COVID-19 data.

The state is focusing more on how the virus affects not only race and ethnicity groups but also sexual orientation and gender.

State health leaders announced Tuesday California will require lab and other COVID-19 testing providers to collect data on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, effective immediately. 

“We expect over the next month improvements that we’ll see improvements in the use of these fields and our ability to report out to you.,” Dr. Mark Ghaly said.  

Tuesdays announcement comes months after LGBTQ groups urged the state to provide data on how the virus is affecting their community. 

Leader of California’s Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Senator Scott Wiener released a statement calling it a deeply important and promising first step. 

The new data collection comes as the state zeroes in on communities disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly noted about 1/3 of the data coming into the state does not include information on race and ethnicity.

State leaders have growing concerns over COVID-19 impacts on minorities, especially the Latino community.

Dr. Ghaly said the latest data shows Latinos account for more than half of the state’s COVID-19 cases, and nearly half of California’s deaths. 

“Improving our data is like getting a new pair of glasses that helps us see more clearly, or using binoculars that help us see further out,”Ghaly said.  

As California improves the data it collects from tests, state officials say the work to improve testing overall is in progress.

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