State health officials announced Tuesday that California will now require labs to include gender identity and sexual orientation, along with race and ethnicity data, when reporting coronavirus test results.
Officials say tracking this data can help health departments identify communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, The virus has hit Black and Latino communities especially hard. Many are front-line workers who cannot work from home and lack adequate access to health care.
"Today begins that day when we will have that information and be able to tailor our interventions and our programs to close disparities," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
The new rule also applies to reporting other communicable diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
LGBTQ groups have been calling for the state to collect this data. In May, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to require California to track the health impacts of COVID-19 and other diseases on the LGBTQ community.