Health

Canadians in poor neighbourhoods had most COVID-related ER visits, data shows

New data further illustrates COVID-19's disproportionate impact on the poor.

Residents of least affluent neighbourhoods had greatest number, percentage of hospital stays

A man wears a protective face mask as he walks past the emergency department of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on April 3. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

New data further illustrates COVID-19's disproportionate impact on the poor.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) says residents of Canada's least affluent neighbourhoods had the greatest number and percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations and emergency department visits as of Aug. 31.

Researchers looked at COVID-19 hospitalizations in Canada excluding Quebec between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 2020.

They found 29.2 per cent involved those living in the country's least affluent neighbourhoods, while 12.9 per cent involved those living in the most affluent neighbourhoods.

The in-hospital death rate was 21 per cent for patients who lived in poorer areas, compared with 18 per cent for those in the most well-off areas.

Patients who died in hospital had a median age of 81.

CIHI says there were more than 8,100 hospital stays for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from January to August 2020.

During the same period, there were more than 48,600 ER visits and 21 per cent of those patients were admitted to the hospital.

The in-hospital death rate was 19 per cent for females and 21 per cent for males.

Public health officials have said the novel coronavirus has hit lower-income groups and minorities harder than the rest of the population.

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