New Regulations Will Help State Understand COVID-19 Impacts on California’s Diverse Communities

California Department of Public Health Takes Action to Require Better, More Timely Collection of Data on Race, Ethnicity, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

SACRAMENTO ‚Äď To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on California‚Äôs diverse communities, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) took regulatory action today, which goes into effect immediately, expanding data reporting requirements for providers and laboratories. The regulations require providers to continue to collect and report race and ethnicity data and also collect and report a patient‚Äôs gender identity and sexual orientation, so the state has more information on patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Today‚Äôs action also requires labs to collect and report race and ethnicity data to the state.

‚ÄúComplete data is essential to addressing health inequities and better designing public health interventions that save lives,‚ÄĚ said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. ‚ÄúThese changes apply to COVID-19, and all reportable diseases, to help us understand their impact by race, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation.

While providers are currently required to report race and ethnicity data to the state, the information received is often incomplete. Race and ethnicity data are still missing from nearly 36% of cases in California. In addition to expanding reporting requirements, today’s action reminds providers that collecting and reporting this data is essential to California’s public health response. The regulations, which become effective immediately, apply to all reportable diseases in California, not just COVID-19, giving the state broader insight into racial and ethnic disparities and disparities among LGBT individuals.

California continues to evaluate additional steps it can take to improve the collection and reporting of data both from providers and laboratories.

The regulations filed today affect Title 17 of the CCR, sections 2500 and 2505.

www.cdph.ca.gov

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Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, the Winter Storms of 2017, the Tubbs Fire, the Thomas Fire, the Carr Fire, the Camp Fire, and the Ridgecrest Earthquake. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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