Smaller Pennsylvania counties are, in many cases, bearing the hardest brunt of the coronavirus pandemic right now, and the latest death data illustrate that toll.
Take Mifflin County, in the mountainous heart of Central Pennsylvania. Mifflin, with a population of 46,000, has had 41 COVID-19 deaths, and 37 of them occurred since Nov. 1, according to the state Department of Health.
In similar-sized Bedford County, on the Maryland border, 26 of 33 COVID-19 deaths have been in the past month. In Cambria County, which includes Johnstown: 59 of 68. In Tioga, on the state’s norther tier, it is 20 of 23.
Statewide, 18% of Pennsylvania’s 10,757 pandemic deaths have occurred since Nov. 1. But in Mifflin, Bedford, Cambria, Tioga and 21 other mostly rural counties half or more of all their COVID-19 deaths have occurred since then.
From a per-capita standpoint, the state’s 1,940 COVID-19 deaths since Nov. 1 equal a rate of 15 per 100,000 population, according to an LNP | LancasterOnline analysis of Health Department data and U.S. census figures.
By contrast, the rate was three to five times higher in the hardest-hit counties.
The per-capita rate over that time period was 86 per 100,000 in Huntingdon, 80 in Mifflin, 63 in Wyoming, 59 in Schuylkill and 54 in Bedford.
Those county rates — the highest in the state — compare with the below-average rates of 11 per 100,000 in Philadelphia and 10 per 100,000 in Allegheny, which are Pennsylvania’s two most-populous counties.
Among Lancaster and its immediate neighbors, the COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 population since Nov. 1 were Lebanon, 32; York, 11; Lancaster, 10; Berks and Dauphin, 9; and Chester, 6.
Here are all 67 Pennsylvania counties, ranked by their per-capita coronavirus death rates since Nov. 1. The list shows the number of COVID-19 deaths since Nov. 1, and how that translates to a rate per 100,000 population, based on 2019 U.S. Census estimates:
|County||Deaths since Nov. 1||Rate per 100,000 pop.|