Identifying “triple-threat” counties at higher risk of COVID outbreaks

“Superspreader facilities”—nursing homes, correctional facilities, and meatpacking plants—have become major COVID hotspots across the US. Many counties are dealing with a large outbreak in one type of tightly-packed facility or another.

Case in point: the outbreak at Cook County Jail in Chicago, which now accounts for a whopping 15.7 percent of all COVID cases in the state of Illinois. Some places, like Colorado’s Weld County, are managing outbreaks across all three types of superspreader facilities.

The graphic above highlights the nearly 260 counties that we’ve termed “triple-threat counties”: those which have all three types of superspreader facilities. The counties are mapped using our Gist Healthcare COVID-19 Risk Factor Index, which identifies particularly vulnerable populations using chronic disease, demographic, and acute care access variables.

The top 10 “triple-threat counties” by risk index score are all in more rural areas of the country with limited acute care access and more vulnerable populations—places where a COVID outbreak is likely to be particularly devastating. Seven of the 10 have a high percentage of African-American or Hispanic/Latino residents, groups with a an outsized burden of COVID-19 illness and death. These risk factors are intersectional; for example, food processing plants employ twice as many Hispanic workers as the national average, and a disproportionate share of long-term care workers are black.

[Click here for more information and interactive data from our analysis of the risk impact of these superspreader facilities.]





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