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Coronavirus Update: Advisory commission on COVID-19 race disparities in W.Va. holds first meeting

By JoAnn Snoderly, The Exponent Telegram

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Barriers to COVID-19 testing and data collection and goal setting were among the topics of discussion on Monday in the first meeting of the newly-formed COVID-19 Advisory Committee on African American Disparities.

As public health officials prepare to implement targeted testing of the black population in certain West Virginia counties, state health officials acknowledged that some data measures are lacking that would be helpful in assessing testing rates to date in the black community.

Demographic information on those who have tested positive is readily available due to the follow-up epidemiological investigations that occur with every positive case. Race data is lacking, however, on tests that are negative, according to West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch.

Having that data would allow experts to examine how much testing is occurring among high-risk populations, as well as the percentage of positive tests by race. …

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