Special Report

These Are the Counties In the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Fastest

After adding over 934,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 42.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 670,000 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 45.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 49.5 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. 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 neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX, metro area consists of Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, and two other counties. In the past week, there were an average of 47.6 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Austin residents, in line with the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is a decrease from the week prior, when there was an average of 61.7 daily new cases per 100,000 Austin residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown metro area, COVID-19 is growing the fastest in Caldwell County. There were an average of 91.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Caldwell County during the past week, the most of the five counties in Austin with available data.

Case growth in the Austin metro area varies at the county level. In Travis County, for example, there were an average of 34.2 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the least of any county in Austin and more than the case growth rate in Caldwell County.

Just as Caldwell County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Austin area, it also has the highest incidence of cases overall. As of September 23, there were a total of 18,916.1 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Caldwell County, the most of the five counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 12,985.5 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

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 Caldwell County, unemployment peaked at 10.5% in April 2020. As of June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 6.0%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending September 23. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data up 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 not seasonally adjusted.

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

Rank in MSA County Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending September. 23 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending September. 16 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
1 Caldwell County 42,144 91.7 150.2 18,916.1 310.8
2 Hays County 213,366 68.2 73.4 14,523.4 165.4
3 Bastrop County 84,522 67.8 103.4 16,045.5 165.6
4 Williamson County 547,604 62.9 83.6 12,823.5 109.8
5 Travis County 1,226,805 34.2 44.0 9,221.7 103.8