COVID-19 cases locally and statewide do not follow population demographics

The Hispanic population is disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, both locally and statewide, but the reasons for this is not known.

According to the most recent case counts of COVID-19, roughly 40% of COVID-19 cases have been reported in residents of Hispanic ethnicity, despite their percentage of the population being far less.

As of Wednesday, October 8, 39.53% of Grays Harbor COVID-19 cases are attributed to Hispanic residents. This is a stark comparison to the 9.9% demographic reported in the 2010 census.

Among the local cases, approximately 50% have been in the White/Caucasian residents that account for nearly 90% of the population. Among other ethnicities, case counts among the Black, Asian, or Native American populations appear to align with population percentages.

Statewide this trend continues. In the latest Department of Health figures, 40.78% of Washington COVID-19 cases are being listed as found in Hispanic residents, while the latest demographics show 13.9% of the population identified as such.

While the numbers may appear to show a connection between COVID-19 and the ethnicity, local health officials tell KXRO that of the local demographic, only 64 (29%) are associated with known clusters. The rest of the transmission comes down to household or non-workplace social transmission, from what has been reported to them. 


COVID-19 education and resources have been distributed in both Spanish and English, and Nicklaus Falley,  Public Information Officer for the Grays Harbor Public Health Incident Management Team, tells KXRO that at the beginning of Grays Harbor County’s COVID-19 response, “there was an Information Equity Task Force (IETF) created to focus on COVID efforts for Spanish and Indigenous speaking community and people with disabilities and the aging community in Grays Harbor. This task force has driven bi-lingual support of informational and educational materials produced by Grays Harbor Public Health. These include bi-lingual press releases, websites, call centers, Facebook posts, ect.”

Falley adds that as there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases recently within Grays Harbor County, there is an emphasis on addressing and educating the community as a whole.

Photo from Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department
Photo from Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department
Photo from Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services Department