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

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After adding over 700,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 48.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 780,000 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 1,508.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 0.8 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 different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

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

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 0.3 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Houston residents, less 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 were an average of 0.2 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 slowest in Austin County. There were an average of 1,138.9 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Austin County during the past week, the least of the nine counties in Houston with available data.

Case growth in the Houston metro area varies at the county level. In Chambers County, for example, there were an average of 1,991.8 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the most of any county in Houston and more than the case growth rate in Austin County.

Just as Austin County has the slowest case growth in the Houston area, it also has the lowest incidence of cases overall. As of December 9, there were a total of 12,313.5 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Austin County, the fewest of the nine counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 15,085.6 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 Austin County, unemployment peaked at 9.7% in April 2020. As of June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 6.4%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the slowest, 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 December 9. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data 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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