Most of Georgia's hospitalized COVID-19 patients are black, CDC finds

Over 80 percent of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Georgia are black, a new study shows, suggesting that as the state moves forward with plans to reopen, black residents may be at higher risk than other groups.

The study, conducted by the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health and eight Georgia hospitals, examined data for 305 hospitalized adults with COVID-19 admitted to the hospitals in March.

They found that 61.6 percent were younger than 65 years, and 50.5 percent were female. About 83 percent of the 297 patients with known race/ethnicity were non-Hispanic black. Nearly 11 percent were non-Hispanic white, 3.4 percent were Hispanic and 2.7 percent were non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander.

Overall, 73.8 percent of the patients had conditions considered high-risk for severe COVID-19. Around 39 percent of the patients had diabetes, but diabetes was not significantly more common in black patients than in nonblack patients.

Researchers also found that black patients were not more likely than nonblack patients to receive invasive mechanical ventilation or to die during their hospital stay.

"Given the overrepresentation of black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19," researchers wrote.

In Georgia, certain businesses have been allowed to reopen, including hair and nail salons and restaurants. The state's stay-at-home order is scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. April 30.

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