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Here's what it means when health officials label an area a coronavirus ‘hot spot’

Doctors told WAAY 31 its a complex term with a lot of factors.

Posted: Apr 15, 2020 5:43 PM

Marshall County accounts for 2 out of every 3 coronavirus cases in Sand Mountain. The Huntsville Hospital CEO recently called the county "a hot spot."

But, WAAY 31 had questions about what exactly is a hot spot, and what do health officials use to determine what areas are hot spots.

Dr. Karen Landers, a doctor with the Alabama Department of Public Health, said hot spot is a complex and broad term that includes a lot of different factors. But to boil it down, it has to do with the increase of cases in an area compared to the number of people in that area.

"If we look at counties by population we see that some of more rural counties have actually higher numbers of cases compared to the population," Landers said

She told WAAY 31 when health officials label an area as a hot spot, it's not necessarily because they have a high number of cases.

Instead, it's because the number of cases is high compared to the number of people who live there. But, she said that's just one factor that leads to an area being named a "hot spot."

"Factors in terms of access to testing, access to health care and just the belief of that person did they need to be tested based upon their symptoms," she said.

Marshall County has the second-highest number of cases of any county in North Alabama. Only Madison County has more but also has more than triple the population - so it’s not considered a hot spot.

"Madison County has had a lower rate per the population," Landers said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at the rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

At that rate, Marshall County averages 109 cases for every 100,000 people. Madison county has more cases but is averaging 53 cases per 100,000people. That’s less than half.

Landers said everyone should look past the numbers and make sure to follow the social distancing and stay at home guidelines.

"Whether your county is defined as a county with increasing cases or a county that's leveling off that doesn't give you the opportunity to say well i'm just going to ignore this now that my county is going down,' she said. 'We must stay vigilant statewide in order to reduce the spread of this virus."

Landers said there really aren't any other counties in North Alabama she would define as a hot spot. But, regardless she said stay home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave the house.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2284118
Jefferson1884103
Montgomery182343
Tuscaloosa82216
Marshall7059
Franklin5788
Lee55834
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43266
Butler41918
Walker3812
Elmore3729
Chambers35926
Madison3464
Morgan2981
Unassigned2972
Baldwin2929
Dallas2873
Etowah26212
Lowndes25912
DeKalb2573
Autauga2395
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2156
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1799
Russell1770
Barbour1771
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1692
Calhoun1653
Wilcox1547
Choctaw15310
Cullman1501
Clarke1492
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1051
Greene954
Winston910
Macon874
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe452
Geneva440
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 24833

Reported Deaths: 388
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson542965
Shelby5428119
Trousdale13944
Rutherford132128
Hamilton93516
Sumner93146
Lake8350
Bledsoe6101
Williamson57711
Putnam5196
Robertson5165
Tipton4593
Wilson4428
Knox4365
Out of TN4264
Bedford2954
Montgomery2833
Rhea2140
Hardeman2010
Madison1732
Bradley1611
Unassigned1610
Macon1583
Loudon1570
McMinn14414
Cheatham1350
Fayette1252
Cumberland1191
Dickson1180
Maury1050
Sevier942
Blount933
Washington750
Coffee740
Monroe692
Wayne640
Gibson631
Sullivan602
Lauderdale591
Hickman580
Dyer570
Franklin541
Greene522
Unicoi480
Obion433
Hamblen432
Marion421
Anderson411
DeKalb380
Smith371
White340
Hawkins342
Marshall331
Lawrence330
Haywood332
Overton320
Cannon320
Grundy311
Henry310
Lincoln290
Jefferson280
Carroll281
Meigs270
Weakley260
Warren260
Perry240
Hardin222
Cocke210
Sequatchie190
Carter191
Johnson190
Jackson190
Polk180
Campbell181
Morgan170
Roane160
Crockett162
Humphreys151
McNairy150
Henderson150
Stewart130
Claiborne120
Chester120
Fentress120
Giles120
Scott120
Grainger110
Clay80
Houston80
Benton71
Moore50
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Pickett30
Lewis30
Hancock10

 

 

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