Ethnicity and rural counties – a few factors that could be feeding Colorado’s COVID rates

Data Desk

DENVER (KDVR) — Racial demographic gaps and rural counties could play a role in Colorado’s stubbornly climbing COVID rate.

Colorado’s case COVID rate is one of the few in the U.S. rising instead of falling and is now double the national rate.

Since Sept. 1, the national rate has fallen from 50 new cases per day per 100,000 people to 22. In the same timeframe, Colorado’s rate has risen from 30 new cases a day per 100,000 people to 50.

The case rate is now almost exactly what it was at this time last year.

Few Colorado officials have been able to pin down why Colorado’s rates would stand out among the rest of the country, especially since its vaccination rate is among the country’s highest.

Timing could be a factor.

Colorado’s case rate peaks have historically been off the U.S. average. During the fall wave of 2020, Colorado’s case rate peaked roughly two months before the country’s.

Demographics could also play a factor.

Colorado’s Hispanic population – which is roughly 1.14 million people – is both larger than the national share and less vaccinated.

Nationwide, Hispanic people are represented well in vaccination status. The U.S. population is 17.2% Hispanic, and Hispanic persons represent 16.8% of all fully immunized people, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Colorado’s rate is much lower. In the Centennial State, 11.73% of fully vaccinated persons are Hispanic, while that same group makes up 20.22% of the state’s population.

Colorado’s rural counties add to the issue, too.

Click the arrow to drag between the two maps to compare COVID incidence rates and COVID vaccination rates by county.

With few exceptions, the Colorado counties with the highest vaccination rates have the lowest incidence rates and vice versa.

Most of the Denver metro counties have relatively high vaccination rates and low incidence rates. Eastern Plans and Western Slope counties, on the other hand, have low vaccinations and higher COVID rates.

These are typically more rural counties.

The 15 counties with the highest incidence rates also have a 59% vaccination rate, on average. The 15 counties with the lowest COVID rates, though, have an average 70% vaccination rate.

Those 15 least-infected counties are, on average, twice as populated as the 15 most-infected.

County name2020 population1+ vaccination rateTwo-week cumulative incidence rate
Adams County519,5720.78621.6
Alamosa County16,3760.661279.9
Arapahoe County655,0700.79544.5
Archuleta County13,3590.70927.6
Baca County33,5060.471841.2
Bent County5,6500.491037.9
Boulder County330,7580.84488.1
Chaffee County19,4760.84471.3
Cheyenne County1,7480.80876.3
Broomfield County74,1120.40394
Clear Creek County9,3970.64806.6
Conejos County7,4610.76459
Costilla County3,4990.52684.3
Crowley County5,9220.551,018.5
Custer County4,7040.55866.5
Delta County31,1960.87547.6
Denver County715,5220.78534.8
Dolores County2,3260.8213.6
Douglas County357,9780.78548.3
Eagle County55,7310.93645.4
El Paso County730,3950.71771
Elbert County26,0620.52435.3
Fremont County48,9390.541,298.9
Garfield County61,6850.72502.3
Gilpin County5,8080.73845
Grand County15,7170.73280.1
Gunnison County16,9180.83301
Hinsdale County7880.71377.4
Huerfano County6,8200.621,160.9
Jackson County1,3790.5145.6
Jefferson County582,9100.83611.9
Kiowa County1,4460.421,916.5
Kit Carson County7,0870.44621.7
La Plata County55,6380.8799.7
Lake County7,4360.78458.4
Larimer County359,0660.75729.5
Las Animas County14,5550.70961.6
Lincoln County5,6750.51282.6
Logan County21,5280.51752.1
Mesa County155,7030.571,034.6
Mineral County8650.84930.2
Moffat County13,2920.51571.9
Montezuma County25,8490.731,334.3
Montrose County42,6790.551,340.7
Morgan County29,1110.57714.8
Otero County18,6900.55974.6
Ouray County4,8740.76655.6
Park County17,3900.59645.4
Phillips County 4,5300.58331.3
Pitkin County17,3580.999293.7
Prowers County11,9990.511,040.4
Pueblo County168,1620.661,158.4
Rio Blanco County6,5290.431,484.5
Rio Grande County11,5390.67813.5
Routt County24,8290.88962.1
Saguache County6,3680.55654.8
San Juan County7050.9991,400.6
San Miguel County8,0720.97483.7
Sedgwick County2,4040.53456.6
Summit County31,0550.93615.8
Teller County24,7100.62682.1
Washington County4,8170.37849
Weld County 328,9810.66805
Yuma County9,9880.53640.1

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