Health data shows Spokane County’s Pacific Islanders disproportionately affected by COVID-19


SPOKANE, Wash – Spokane’s Pacific Islanders make up less than one percent of  Spokane County’s population, but account for nearly 31% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to information released by the Spokane Regional Health District on Monday.

The data show 347 confirmed cases classified under “non-Hispanic NH/OPI.” That stands for Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.

341 of the 347 are people from the Marshall Islands.

Nationwide, minorities have been disproportionately affected by cases of COVID-19. In Spokane County, that holds true, but no population is as affected as the Pacific Islanders. 2.7% of cases in Spokane County are Black people, while Black people make up 1.9% of the county’s population. Hispanic people make up 5.7% of the county’s population, but account for 6.7% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Non-Hispanic White people make up 50% of the cases, but are 84% of the population.

In Washington, the Hispanic communities are the most disproportionately affected. Hispanic people make up 13% of the state’s population, but 44% of confirmed cases.

PAST COVERAGE: Hispanic community disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in Washington

Over the weekend, the Spokesman-Review took a deeper look at the effects on Spokane’s Marshallese population, including possible reasons behind the outbreak. In the article, linked here, the reporter referenced the community’s inability to access Medicaid and Medicare, along with other health inequities.

The Guardian and other populations have written about this as well.

The Marshallese population was also disproportionately impacted by a mumps outbreak in Spokane County several years ago.

The Spokane County Health District information is below, dated June 29.

Ethnicity Data

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