These Are The Counties In The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing The Fastest –

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After adding over 5,310,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 67.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 840,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

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New cases continue to rise at a faster rate. In the past week, there were an average of 221.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 213.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

Find out what’s happening in Houston with free, real-time updates from Patch.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of coronavirus grew at an average rate of 242.0 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 13.5% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX, metro area consists of Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, and six other counties. In the past week, there were an average of 233.3 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Houston residents, greater than the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there was an average of 231.9 daily new cases per 100,000 Houston residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area, COVID-19 is growing the fastest in Fort Bend County. There were an average of 249.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Fort Bend County during the past week, the most of the nine counties in Houston with available data.

Case growth in the Houston metro area varies widely at the county level. In Chambers County, for example, there were an average of 76.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the least of any county in Houston and far more than the case growth rate in Fort Bend County.

While Fort Bend County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Houston area, it does not have the highest incidence of cases overall. As of January 20, there were a total of 20,089.1 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Fort Bend County, the fifth most of the nine counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 20,769.3 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In Fort Bend County, unemployment peaked at 13.0% in April 2020. As of June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 6.9%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending January 20. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data up from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is not seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Texas where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

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This story was originally published by 24/7 Wall St., a news organization that produces real-time business commentary and data-driven reporting for state and local markets across the country.

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