Looking at the numbers: Comparing Albany’s COVID-19 cases per capita

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 4:34 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The COVID-19 crisis in the Albany metro area is one of the very worst in the United States, according to the latest per capita comparisons with counties across the United States.

In both the number of positive COVID-19 cases and in deaths from the virus, the Albany metro area ranks as one of the most intense by the numbers hot spots in the nation.

Looking at the official numbers put out by Johns Hopkins University, as of Friday, the Albany Metro Area has a population of almost 147,000 people. There are 681 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and 39 have died. That means there are 27 deaths per 100,000 residents. The Albany metro area is Dougherty, Lee, Terrell, Worth and Baker counties.

“We continue to see a large influx of patients coming into our emergency room with symptoms of COVID-19,” Dr. Steven Kitchen, Phoebe chief medical officer, said.

Compare that per capita population to other hotspots across the country, and the Albany numbers are shocking.

New Orleans metro area has eight times more people than the Albany metro area with more than one 1,270,000 people. They have more than 6,500 positive cases and 241 deaths. That is 19 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The hot spot getting the most attention is the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area, with 19,215,000 people — 130 times more people than the Albany metro are. They have 106,025 positive cases with 2,365 deaths. That is 12 deaths per 100,000 residents — less than half the per capita of Albany.

Dougherty County alone is one of the top in the nation per capita in positives and deaths from COVID-19.

Of the 38 people who have died in Dougherty County, 81 percent have been African-American, and most have been women.

The ages have ranged from 34 to 98-years-old.

As of Friday, John Hopkins University reported Dougherty County has 521 positives cases in a population of more than 87,000 —and that number continues to grow.

“We need to acknowledge the suffering that is going on every day. Because there have been too many deaths," Kitchen said.

New York and New Orleans all have much larger numbers of hospitals and medical facilities than Albany, with larger numbers of ICU beds. But when you calculate using the per capita numbers, Albany’s 60 ICU beds is 38 per 100,000 people, better or in the same range of individual counties. But the larger cities counties have other surrounding counties with more ICU beds available. Phoebe is bringing in more ICU beds and staff this week.

Medical officials said Albany’s COVID-19 crisis started earlier than most communities and has intensified more quickly.

Albany officials are working with Gov. Brian Kemp bringing in more National Guard and state medical personnel to help what is now one of the most intense hotspots in the nation.

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