Covid board quizzed over impact on Reading

Healthwatch Reading and other charities spoke up about the impact of the pandemic on marginalised people in our town.
Punjabi Covid information poster

Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority People in Reading are ‘over-represented’ in Covid positive cases, according to a first snapshot of data collated by Reading Borough Council.

The council outlined figures in a response to a question from Healthwatch Reading at the first meeting of the Reading Covid-19 Outbreak Engagement Board, held online on 4 September 2020.

During the three weeks to 1 September, 42% of positive Covid tests were recorded for White British people, 16% in the ‘White Other’ group and 42% for BAME people. “If we think about 25% of the population being from a BAME background, then that is an over-representation,” said Yvonne Illsley, Public Health Programme Officer.  Ethnicity had just started to be collected, so the percentages were just a snapshot at this stage, but the council was recruiting a Covid-19 engagement officer to connect with communities.

Mandeep Kaur Bains, chief executive of Healthwatch Reading said a breakdown of how Covid was affecting marginalised groups was important to help develop the right strategies to deal with the pandemic in our town.

Other charities also put questions to the board about the impact on people with learning disabilities and sight impairment.

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