Hispanic and Black Coloradans Are Hospitalized For Coronavirus At Elevated Rates

A negative pressure room inside St. Joseph Hospital, March 10, 2020.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A negative pressure room inside St. Joseph Hospital, March 10, 2020.

Black and Hispanic Coloradans are hospitalized due to COVID-19 at significantly higher rates, according to new data from the state health department.

The data reinforces national findings that communities of color have been disproportionately hard by the pandemic. Communities of color and top national physician groups pushed for the Trump administration and states to release more detailed data.

Hispanics have accounted for almost 38 percent of all hospitalized patients, though they represent just 22 percent of Colorado’s overall population. At one point in May, more than half of the patients in hospitals were Hispanic.

Nearly one in ten hospitalized patients were Black, even though they make up fewer than one in 20 of the population. But that trend appears to have improved over time.

“This hospitalization data is another example of how historical inequities negatively impact health outcomes,” said CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker-Ryan. “That fact is especially apparent during emergencies like the pandemic.”

White Coloradans were hospitalized at far lower rates: Less than half of patients were white, in spite of making up two-thirds of the population. Native American residents were also hospitalized at slightly lower rates compared to their representation in the population.

About half of hospitalized patients were 60 or older, and men were more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than women. Those who survived spent nine days in the hospital on average.

The state health department, CDPHE, began collecting the data in May as required by a public health order outlining demographic data for hospitals to submit to the state. More than half of hospitals have done so, accounting for more than 91 percent of the COVID-19 patients treated in Colorado hospitals.  

On Friday at 4 p.m., CDPHE will publish the data in an interactive dashboard on the COVID-19 website. They have also provided a snapshot of the current data and a few graphs displaying the data.