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Counties in every state with the highest COVID-19 infection rates

  • Counties in every state with the highest COVID-19 infection rates

    The rates of coronavirus infections vary dramatically across the country, sometimes to puzzling extremes. One locale might be crowded and bustling, the other remote and rural.

    Stacker decided to take a close look at COVID-19 rates around the country and what lies behind them.

    Many hard-hit areas are majority-Black, illustrating the devastatingly unequal toll the pandemic has taken. Some of the highest rates have occurred among Native Americans, especially the Navajo Nation, which has had nearly double the national per capita rate of COVID-19 deaths.

    Other high rates turn up in locales with correctional facilities. Prisons have proved to be frighteningly effective incubators once the virus gets inside. Still other high rates turn up among immigrants, many of whom remained on the job as essential workers in agricultural fields during the pandemic. Some of the worst outbreaks have been in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, where workers say they are not safe.

    To determine which counties in every state have the highest COVID-19 infection rates, Stacker consulted the New York Times COVID-19 data repository, which includes case and death values compiled from state and local health agencies. We compared county-level case numbers to county populations, using population data compiled from the U.S. Census’ 2018 American Community Survey. Overall data on the numbers of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in every state are also included. The COVID-19 values in this story are accurate as of June 16, 2020, and recount all cases and deaths since this information was first reported by individual states and counties.

    [Pictured: Philadelphia County]

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  • Alabama

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 26,912 cases, 785 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Lowndes County: 403 cases (3.94% of county population), 15 deaths
    --- #2. Bullock County: 310 cases (2.99% of county population), 9 deaths
    --- #3. Butler County: 551 cases (2.75% of county population), 25 deaths

    Lowndes County, which is in central Alabama southeast of Montgomery, is sparsely populated and majority-Black. Almost one in three people live in poverty. The unemployment rate hit 26% with manufacturing plants closing due to the pandemic.

    [Pictured: Lowndes County]

  • Alaska

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 751 cases, 10 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Bristol Bay Borough: 4 cases (0.45% of county population), 0 deaths
    --- #2. Kenai Peninsula Borough: 120 cases (0.21% of county population), 1 death
    --- #3. Ketchikan Gateway Borough: 22 cases (0.16% of county population), 0 deaths

    Kenai Peninsula, located in the south of Alaska, is home to rural fishing communities, Alaska Native villages, and oil and gas infrastructure. While the county has an official count of 120 cases as of June 16, state officials there are monitoring about 300 people, including the "close contacts" of people who have tested positive. Testing capacity broadened in southern Alaska in late May and early June, allowing for more cases to be identified and traced.

    [Pictured: Kenai Peninsula Borough]

     

  • Arizona

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 39,298 cases, 1,228 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Apache County: 1,996 cases (2.79% of county population), 57 deaths
    --- #2. Santa Cruz County: 1,217 cases (2.61% of county population), 13 deaths
    --- #3. Navajo County: 2,749 cases (2.53% of county population), 88 deaths

    Most of the Apache and Navajo counties are on the Navajo Indian Reservation, which has been one of the worst-hit parts of the country in the pandemic. The nation's largest reservation has had nearly double the national per capita rate of deaths. Tribal members suffer from high rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, all of which raise their risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19.

    [Pictured: Navajo County]

     

  • Arkansas

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 13,191 cases, 188 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Lincoln County: 995 cases (7.27% of county population), 11 deaths
    --- #2. Lee County: 545 cases (5.80% of county population), 1 death
    --- #3. St. Francis County: 779 cases (2.96% of county population), 3 deaths

    Lincoln County is part of the Pine Bluff metropolitan area in central Arkansas. Most of its coronavirus cases are tied to the state prison system’s Cummins Unit, where some 600 prisoners tested positive as of April 20. Four inmates there died of COVID-19.

    [Pictured: St. Francis County]

     

  • California

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 159,098 cases, 5,202 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Imperial County: 4,389 cases (2.44% of county population), 51 deaths
    --- #2. Kings County: 1,870 cases (1.25% of county population), 9 deaths
    --- #3. Los Angeles County: 75,084 cases (0.74% of county population), 2,959 deaths

    Imperial County’s two hospitals stopped admitting COVID-19 patients after a surge of patients who were U.S. citizens living in Mexico. The county bordering Mexico has less than 300 hospital beds, and with the hospitals overwhelmed, COVID-19 patients have been transferred as far away as northern California.

    [Pictured: Imperial County]

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  • Colorado

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 29,427 cases, 1,617 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Logan County: 633 cases (2.92% of county population), 5 deaths
    --- #2. Morgan County: 646 cases (2.29% of county population), 45 deaths
    --- #3. Saguache County: 99 cases (1.53% of county population), 2 deaths

    Located in the grasslands of northeastern Colorado, Logan County is home to the Sterling Correctional Facility, which had one of the state’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks. As of June 6, nearly all of the county’s coronavirus cases and three deaths have occurred among the inmates at the largest state prison, which has the capacity to house 2,500 prisoners.

    [Pictured: Morgan County]

     

  • Connecticut

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 45,349 cases, 4,210 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Fairfield County: 16,359 cases (1.73% of county population), 1,350 deaths
    --- #2. New Haven County: 12,078 cases (1.41% of county population), 1,046 deaths
    --- #3. Hartford County: 11,261 cases (1.26% of county population), 1,330 deaths

    Fairfield County sits along the state line with New York City, the early epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. The governors of the two states coordinated efforts to battle the outbreak, although Connecticut opted to reopen restaurants earlier than its neighbor did.

    [Pictured: New Haven County]

     

  • Delaware

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 10,403 cases, 424 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Sussex County: 4,428 cases (2.02% of county population), 150 deaths
    --- #2. Kent County: 1,573 cases (0.90% of county population), 84 deaths
    --- #3. New Castle County: 4,386 cases (0.79% of county population), 190 deaths

    Delaware governor John Carney declared coastal Sussex County, where the popular Rehoboth Beach is located, a hotspot in April. He said the county was seeing more coronavirus cases, especially along its main north-south roadway. One local outbreak occurred among inmates at the Sussex County Community Correctional Center. Sussex beaches were reopened in time for the Memorial Day holiday in May.

    [Pictured: Kent County]

     

  • Florida

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 80,101 cases, 2,992 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Liberty County: 220 cases (2.63% of county population), 1 death
    --- #2. Hamilton County: 277 cases (1.94% of county population), 2 deaths
    --- #3. Hendry County: 659 cases (1.64% of county population), 20 deaths

    Liberty, the most rural county in Florida, dominated by the Apalachicola National Forest, was the last in the state to record a confirmed coronavirus case. Most of its cases are inmates at Liberty Correctional Institution, a 1,330-inmate men’s prison in Bristol that has had the most positive tests among inmates of all the state prisons.

    [Pictured: Hamilton County]

     

  • Georgia

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 16: 56,302 cases, 2,492 deaths
    - Counties with the highest infection rates:
    --- #1. Echols County: 162 cases (4.06% of county population), 0 deaths
    --- #2. Randolph County: 191 cases (2.70% of county population), 23 deaths
    --- #3. Chattahoochee County: 272 cases (2.53% of county population), 0 deaths

    Rural Echols County in southeastern Georgia, which has about 4,000 residents, had a recent surge in COVID-19 cases after extensive testing was organized by a migrant farmworkers clinic. Many Echols residents are Spanish-speaking agricultural workers who advocates say may have difficulty practicing social distancing in their homes. Workers who make such low wages also are less likely to skip work if they fall sick, advocates say.

    [Pictured: Randolph County]

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