The province of Manitoba is planning to release information about the race, ethnicity and income of COVID-19 cases, and is considering collecting information about occupation and housing as well.
A provincial spokesperson said Wednesday that a report on that demographic information is being finalized, and will include anecdotal information about occupations as well.
Moving forward, the province is also looking into including standardized questions about occupation and housing in its case investigation form, which is filled out by people who have tested positive.
The issue came up in the Manitoba Legislature Tuesday, when Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked the provincial government to commit to releasing demographic information. He argued it would give Manitobans more confidence in the province’s pandemic response and help them make better decisions.
“If this information was to be released and we were to see that there were a particular number of cases in the transportation industry, then maybe we could put into place more protections for those workers, as one example,” he said.
Premier Brian Pallister said his government is already in the process of preparing to release more information.
The province began releasing more detailed geographic information about COVID-19 cases in Manitoba this summer, with cases originally broken down into 68 districts.
It later broke down cases in Winnipeg into 12 separate districts.
Provincial health officials began asking people who test positive to COVID-19 to voluntarily divulge their ethnicity starting in May.
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