Monday, November 2, 2020

A Comparison of COVID-19 Mortality in Blair and Westmoreland Counties and the Election

Steve Elfelt created the above video detailing the events surrounding Blair Counties rise in cases and deaths including Trump rallies.  It is similar to my last post where I showed how cases in Cambria increased after the Trump rallies there while testing did not increase.  Recently Westmoreland County has been showing a steady rise in the number of deaths as can be seen in the image below.  As these are the counties in west central PA with the highest number of deaths (105 for Westmoreland and 32 for Blair) I thought I should take a closer look at their numbers and compare them to the state numbers after adjusting for population.

























  • Westmoreland's population is 2.86 times as large as Blair's so that is why I should adjust their numbers for population.
  • In terms of cases per 100,000, Westmoreland has 1,318.72 while Blair has 1,255.04.  The State rate is 1655.96 per 100,000.  They are somewhat behind the state rate for cases.
  • In terms of deaths per 100,000, Westmoreland has 30.09 deaths per 100,000 while Blair has 26.27.  Pennsylvania has 68.92.  This high death rate in Philadelphia and surrounding counties drive the higher case and death rates in the state.
  • Another mortality rate is the case mortality rate which is the percentage of cases in the county who die.  Westmoreland County has a rate of 2.28% while Blair has a rate of 2.09%.  The state rate is 4.16%.  
  • The hospitalization rate is 15.48 per 100,000 for Westmoreland County while it is 9.85 per 100,000.  Westmoreland is above the state rate of 10.56 per 100,000 while Blair is slightly below.
  • The ventilator rate is currently 1.15 per 100,000 for Westmoreland while it is 3.28 per 100,000 in Blair County.  Blair County's rate is more than three times higher than the state rate of 0.97.
  • The cumulative testing rate for Westmoreland is 16.48% while it is 19.57% for Blair County.  Both counties are behind the state rate of 19.92%
  • The cumulative positive test rate is currently 8.00% for Westmoreland and 6.41% for Blair.  Both are behind the state positive rate of 8.31%.
  • 872 of Westmoreland's cases have been in nursing homes or 21.7% of the total cases.  208 of Blair County's cases have been in nursing homes or 13.6 of the total cases.  32,064 of Pennsylvania's cases are in a nursing home or 15.1% of the total cases.  Westmoreland's cases are more prevalent in their nursing homes.
  • 66 of Westmoreland's deaths have been in a nursing home or 62.9% of the total deaths. Likewise 17 of the 32 deaths in Blair county were in a nursing home or 53.1% of the total.  For Pennsylvania 5,810 deaths have been in nursing homes or 65.9% of the total deaths.  Westmoreland's nursing homes have been harder hit than Blair's.
Overall, Westmoreland has been harder hit than Blair County after adjusting for population.  The higher rates in hospitals and nursing homes for Westmoreland suggest that vulnerable populations have been hit while testing lags behind in both counties.  Mike Pence as in Westmoreland County today with few masks and social distancing.  Trump Jr and Sr have been in Blair County in the last week.  Will these events push them over the edge?

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