For the first time, the province is releasing ethnicity-related statistics on COVID-19 contraction in Manitoba.

Dr. Brent Roussin says the differences between ethnic groups contracting the virus are not due to differences in race but due to circumstances each BIPOC group faces.

"This is systemic and it is seen in every jurisdiction resulting in very similar patterns of the disproportional effects of COVID-19," Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says.

The province has been collecting this data since April.

race and covidA chart highlighting the rate of COVID-19 infection per ethnic group. (Province of Manitoba)

The ethnic populations statically hit the hardest by COVID-19 are the Filipino and South Asian communities, Both have a five per cent higher percentage of representation in COVID-19 cases compared to representation in the overall population. 

Indigenous communities and Southeast Asian communities have a four per cent higher percentage of representation in COVID-19 cases compared to representation in the overall population.

The White population representation with COVID-19 cases is drastically lower than other groups, with 48 per cent of all COVID-19 cases being the White population out of 64 per cent of the overall population.

"We know people in BIPOC communities are more likely to live in lower-income neighbourhoods, live in overcrowded, (and) multi-generational households. They are also more likely to have low-wage occupations and be employed in high-risk occupations," Roussin says.

risk race jobA chart highlighting the rate of COVID-19 infection per industry. (Province of Manitoba)

The doctor says these are all reasons why BIPOC communities are experiencing higher infection rates.

The province has found that those working in food manufacturing, the service industry, and transportation are the highest impacted jobs. They say the BIPOC population is overrepresented in these industries. 

jobs raceA chart highlighting service industry jobs and the link between the jobs and BIPOC communities. (Province of Manitoba)

"We have learned that in the fight against COVID-19, we need to have the right data to ensure we are able to take the steps needed to protect all Manitobans. Our trusted public health officials, like Dr. Brent Roussin and Dr. Marcia Anderson, review this information to determine how it can be used to ensure all Manitobans are protected, regardless of their background," Health Minister Heather Stefanson says in a statement.

The minister says this data is being used to identify health care needs.

Roussin says a challenge releasing this data is stigmatization.

"It is really important that it is not race that makes you more susceptible to COVID, it is the systemic factors that make you more susceptible."