Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

Fall 12-2-2020

Faculty Advisor(s)

Jason Douglas

Abstract

Hispanic and Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality (California Department of Public Health, 2020). Inequitable access to viral testing resources may have exacerbated these COVID-19-related racial and ethnic health disparities. For example, reports from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health revealed glaring viral testing disparities in April 2020 (early pandemic), with predominantly White communities in Los Angeles County receiving 65% more tests than Hispanic and Black communities. In response, California statewide testing was expanded for communities of color (Vann et al., 2020). To investigate access to viral testing in Los Angeles City, the current study examined geographic access to testing sites offering reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests across 105 Los Angeles City ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTA). Census data was used to identify majority Black and Hispanic ZCTAs and majority White ZCTAs. A buffer radius of 2.44 miles was then applied to determine the number of testing sites within this distance of majority Hispanic and Black, compared to majority White, ZCTA centroids. This distance metric, which represents the average distance to a hospital in the U.S., has been used in recent research investigating COVID-19 treatment resource access in other communities (Douglas & Subica, 2020). An independent t-test indicated that the mean number of RT-PCR testing sites within a 2.44 mile radius of each ZCTA centroid per 1000 people in majority Black and Hispanic ZCTAs was not significantly different than the number of testing sites per 1000 people in majority White ZCTAs in Los Angeles city (t = .224, 95% CI [-.20906, .26765]) with .2087 and .2380 test sites per 1000 persons, respectively. These findings emphasize the positive impact of the city's policies implemented in early May to make testing site access more equitable. Although better geographic access to testing sites is evident, this study did not explore test rates at these sites. Further accessibility questions also remain regarding the impact of language barriers, inequitable access to healthcare and health insurance, and immigration status on testing disparities.

Comments

Presented at the virtual Fall 2020 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

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