Hispanic and Black populations in Evanston continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Cumulative percent positive test rates for both groups are two times or more higher than rates for white and Asian populations, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and analyzed by the Evanston RoundTable.
In the past six-week period, Hispanic residents were three times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than were white residents and 1.5 times more likely to test positive than Black residents.
Black and Hispanic populations are more likely to work in essential frontline jobs that cannot be done remotely or from home, increasing exposure to the virus, say health experts. For example, Hispanics are especially overrepresented in Building Cleaning Services and Blacks are over represented in Child Care and Social Services, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. (“A Basic Demographic Profile of Workers in Frontline Industries,” Center for Economic and Policy Research.)
About 340 Evanstonians identifying as white, 200 identifying as Black and 193 identifying as Hispanic tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 6 weeks. Whites represent about 60% of residents in Evanston. Blacks represent around 18% and Hispanics, 9%.
A significant number of people tested for COVID-19 do not answer the race/ethnicity question on the Illinois health form. For example, 243 Evanston residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last six weeks left this question blank.