A County-Level Analysis of Socioeconomic and Clinical Predictors of COVID-19 Incidence and Case-Fatality Rates in Georgia, March–September 2020

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Abstract

Objectives: The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected various populations differently. We investigated the relationship between socioeconomic determinants of health obtained from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings and COVID-19 incidence and mortality at the county level in Georgia. Methods: We analyzed data on COVID-19 incidence and case-fatality rates (CFRs) from the Georgia Department of Public Health from March 1 through August 31, 2020. We used repeated measures generalized linear mixed models to determine differences over time in Georgia counties among quartile health rankings of health outcomes, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Results: COVID-19 incidence per 100 000 population increased across all quartile county groups for all health rankings (range, 23.1-51.6 in May to 688.4-1062.0 in August). COVID-19 CFRs per 100 000 population peaked in April and May (range, 3312-6835) for all health rankings, declined in June and July (range, 827-5202), and increased again in August (range, 1877-3310). Peak CFRs occurred later in counties with low health rankings for health behavior and clinical care and in counties with high health rankings for social and economic factors and physical environment. All interactions between the health ranking quartile variables and month were significant (P <.001). County-level Gini indices were associated with significantly higher rates of COVID-19 incidence (P <.001) but not CFRs. Conclusions: From March through August 2020, COVID-19 incidence rose in Georgia’s counties independent of health rankings categorization. Differences in time to peak CFRs differed at the county level based upon key health rankings. Public health interventions should incorporate unique strategies to improve COVID-19–related patient outcomes in these environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Reports
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Georgia
  • mortality
  • socioeconomic determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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