Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 817,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending September 28, bringing the total count to more than 42.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 683,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise, albeit at a slowing rate. In the past week, there were an average of 39.7 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 47.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA metro area consists of Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, and 26 other counties. As of September 28, there were 13,660.8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Atlanta residents, roughly in line with the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 13,207.9 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta metro area, Pike County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of September 28, there were 19,981.4 cases per 100,000 residents in Pike County, the most of any county in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Fayette County, there were 11,241.0 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta metro area, unemployment peaked at 12.8% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 4.2%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Georgia where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 28 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 28 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 28 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 28 per 100,000 residents
19140 Dalton, GA 143,961 28,437 19,753.3 418 290.4
23580 Gainesville, GA 198,667 35,850 18,045.3 562 282.9
40660 Rome, GA 97,369 17,412 17,882.5 311 319.4
46660 Valdosta, GA 145,315 25,017 17,215.7 355 244.3
15260 Brunswick, GA 117,400 19,552 16,654.2 396 337.3
12260 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 599,616 94,915 15,829.3 1,373 229.0
47580 Warner Robins, GA 180,652 27,884 15,435.2 408 225.8
12020 Athens-Clarke County, GA 208,457 31,462 15,092.8 341 163.6
31420 Macon-Bibb County, GA 229,504 33,762 14,710.9 859 374.3
12060 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 5,862,424 800,854 13,660.8 10,634 181.4
10500 Albany, GA 148,436 20,200 13,608.6 585 394.1
42340 Savannah, GA 386,036 51,505 13,342.0 768 198.9
17980 Columbus, GA-AL 319,402 40,827 12,782.3 783 245.1
25980 Hinesville, GA 80,041 8,581 10,720.8 104 129.9