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COVID-19 in depth: Why are death rates so high in some counties?

Posted at 8:08 PM, Oct 27, 2020

Too many people die of COVID-19. That’s stating the obvious.

In Utah, it’s one out of 200 patients, and Utah is better off that most states and countries.

In Garfield County, it’s five out of 100. Literally — they have exactly 100 cases and five deaths.

That’s too small a sample size to be statistically significant, but the cases are spread out over several months, male and female, and of different ages in different environments.

It suggests two things that are not mutually exclusive: vulnerable people are getting exposed and/or the county has a lot more infections going undetected.

This map shows four counties with rates well above the state average:

Emery County also has quite a small sample size: three deaths with 106 known cases, making it unwise to suggest too much, but Juab and San Juan counties each have substantial case numbers.

San Juan saw an early outbreak on the Navajo Reservation, but the state coronavirus website shows Monticello and Blanding experiencing much higher case rates than the outlying areas of the county.

This map shows counties with rates at or slightly above the state average. It includes all of the Wasatch Front Counties other than Utah County, along with populous Washington County in the south.

This map shows counties with case rates below the state average. It’s a rare bright spot for Utah County, whose case rate continues to outpace every other county in Utah.

These counties have deaths attributed to coronavirus: