Special Report

COVID-19: Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 573,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending June 28, bringing the total count to more than 85.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 1,005,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 27.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 29.8 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.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 29.7 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 12.7% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Provo-Orem, UT metro area consists of Utah County and Juab County. As of June 28, there were 34,143.2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Provo residents, the 12th highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 26,532.2 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 Provo-Orem metro area, Utah County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of June 28, there were 34,296.0 cases per 100,000 residents in Utah County, the most of any county in Provo-Orem, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Juab County, there were 25,953.5 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Provo-Orem.

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 Provo-Orem metro area, unemployment peaked at 8.1% in April 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 1.5%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Provo-Orem, UT 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 Utah where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

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