RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health introduced a new data dashboard on Virginia firearm injuries from 2016 to 2022.

According to the VDH, the dashboard shows the number of emergency department visits because of injuries caused by guns. It organizes by year, health district, age group, gender, race and ethnicity throughout Virginia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided VDH with the Firearm Injury Surveillance Through Emergency Rooms funding, which lasts for three years. Virginia has been awarded this out of 10 recipients, according to the VDH.

The VDH said the objective of this is to “improve public health surveillance of firearm injuries using near-real time ED data.”

Some of the dashboard’s findings are:

  • The number of ED visits for firearm injuries increased 72% from 2018 to 2021.
  • From January 2016 through May of this year, most firearm injury victims were male.
  • Among different racial groups, most ED visits because of firearm injuries were among Black patients.
  • Younger adults between ages 18 and 24 comprised nearly one-third of firearm injury ED visits in 2021.

To put together this dashboard, the VDH said they worked with hospitals, education partners, law enforcement, state agencies and community groups. Hospitals and independent EDs report data to the VDH.

“The misuse and mishandling of firearms constitute a significant cause of injury in Virginia,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “This data set, obtained from emergency department records, will assist in the assessment of proximate causes of firearm-related injury, with an eye toward prevention of future injuries.”

The VDH said they hope to develop the data dashboard to include hospitalizations and deaths resulting from firearms.