As part of the COVID response, the Ontario Ministry of Health requires all public health units to collect socio-demographic data. In particular, clients who test positive for COVID are asked about their ethnicity, the language spoken at birth, their income level and how many people live in their household. Data collection began in Waterloo in mid-July and by mid-October, Public Health had enough cases (sample size) to begin the initial analysis of the data. The local findings show a significant disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on individuals who identify as a visible minority, as black, who have a before tax income of less than $50,000/year and whose first language is not English or French. The full presentation including data tables can be found at https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/resources/Documents/Initial-Analysis-of-Socio-Demographic-Indicators-for-COVID-19-Cases.pdf
One of the initial steps being taken is to apply for funding for Safe Voluntary Isolation Spaces through the Public Health Agency of Canada. This funding allows for the creation of isolation spaces for individuals who cannot safely isolate at home. The funding would provide lodging, food and a variety of social supports for individuals who have tested positive for COVID or who are awaiting their test results. Public Health expects to hear about the application in late December. In the meantime, Waterloo Regional Council has agreed to support an interim isolation program that should be operational during the first week of December.