Denver Health data obtained by Denverite offers a glimpse at COVID-19 infection rates for neighborhoods in the city, which has more than 750 positive cases for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Globeville, Montbello, Valverde — neighborhoods with low- to moderate-income levels — have among the highest rates of infection in the city. Those neighborhoods are also home to more black and Latino residents.
Neighborhoods including North Park Hill, Skyland, South Park Hill, Washington Park and Whittier are seeing the highest rates of infection.
Denver currently has the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the state, with 33 deaths.
State Rep. Leslie Herod represents northeast Denver. Herod has been calling on the state to release more data detailing the race of people testing positive for COVID-19. She wants the state to provide a response focusing on people of color.
“It seems clear to me that African-American and Latino Coloradans are disproportionally impacted by the COVID pandemic,” Herod said after seeing the Denver neighborhood map. “With the data, we can begin to find solutions and ensure those solutions actually target the communities that are impacted.”
Herod noted one of the first people she know of to test positive for illness was Pastor Terrence Hughes, a figurehead in the city’s black community who’s been hospitalized since last month. Herod said Hughes continues to battle the illness.
Councilwoman Jamie Torres said in a statement that as more data comes in locally and nationally, she worries “our racial and socio-economic divides play out in loss of life.” She noted there are factors in play for who gets tested, gets treatment and who practices social distancing, adding some people are not taking the stay-at-home order seriously.
“I also see my community still reporting to work because they fill an ‘essential’ role, construction, health care, grocery store workers, janitors and these are folks who may not have secure health coverage, or ability to work from home, or the option to shut their small business doors,” Torres said.
Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, who represents northeast Denver, one of the most racially diverse districts in the city, said she’s asking leaders in the Asian, Ethiopian and Latino communities to encourage others to wear face masks and practice social distancing. Gilmore’s district includes Montbello.
“It’s super-hard, culturally, to not hug people,” said Gilmore, who identifies as Latina. “It will, in the end, save lives.”
This is a developing story and will be updated. A previous story incorrectly included reference to Villa Park when the correct neighborhood was Valverde, and incorrectly identified Elyria Swansea as one of the neighborhoods with a high percentage of cases.