Officials release race, ethnicity data on coronavirus cases in Mass.

BOSTON (WHDH) - For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak hit the Bay State, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Wednesday published race and ethnicity data on thousands of confirmed coronavirus cases.

RELATED: Health officials announce 77 new coronavirus-related deaths in Mass., bringing death toll to 433 with 16,790 confirmed cases

“Obtaining racial and ethnic data on cases of COVID-19 is crucial for examining where and on whom the burden of disease and death is falling,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Wednesday during a news conference at the State House. “It’s actually essential for the Commonwealth’s response to the pandemic and important information for all of us to understand.”

The following statistics were provided by the DPH:

There have been 2,751 (16%) confirmed cases in white individuals with 98 (23%) deaths.

There have been 1,162 (7%) confirmed cases in Hispanic individuals and 14 deaths (3%).

There have been 889 (5 percent) confirmed cases in black/African-American individuals and seven deaths (2%).

There have been 235 (1%) confirmed cases in Asian individuals and six deaths (1%).

Of the 16,790 cases in the Bay State, 11,753 (70%) cases were labeled “other,” “missing,” or “unknown.”

Information on race and ethnicity is collected and reported by multiple entities and may or may not reflect self-report by the individual case, according to the DPH.

The DPH also noted that if no information is provided by a reporter on a case’s race or ethnicity, it’s classified as “missing.”

A classification of “unknown” is said to indicate that the reporter did not know the race and ethnicity of the individual, the individual refused to provide information, or that the originating reporting system does not capture the information.

“Other” is said to indicate multiple races or that the originating reporting system does not capture the information.

Click here for more coronavirus coverage.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)