Epidemiology of the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia: Inadequate critical care resources and impact after 7 weeks of community spread

Justin Xavier Moore, Marvin E. Langston, Varghese George, Steven S. Coughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic currently spreading rapidly across the United States. We provide a comprehensive look at COVID-19 epidemiology across the state of Georgia, which includes vast rural communities that may be disproportionately impacted by the spread of this infectious disease. Methods: All 159 Georgia counties were included in this study. We examined the geographic variation of COVID-19 in Georgia from March 3 through April 24, 2020 by extracting data on incidence and mortality from various national and state datasets. We contrasted county-level mortality rates per 100,000 population (MRs) by county-level factors. Results: Metropolitan Atlanta had the overall highest number of confirmed cases; however, the southwestern rural parts of Georgia, surrounding the city of Albany, had the highest bi-weekly increases in incidence rate. Among counties with >10 cases, MRs were highest in the rural counties of Randolph (233.2), Terrell (182.5), Early (136.3), and Dougherty (114.2). Counties with the highest MRs (22.5–2332 per 100,000) had a higher proportion of: non-Hispanic Blacks residents, adults aged 60+, adults earning <$20,000 annually, and residents living in rural communities when compared with counties with lower MRs. These counties also had a lower proportion of the population with a college education, lower number of ICU beds per 100,000 population, and lower number of primary care physicians per 10,000 population. Conclusions: While urban centers in Georgia account for the bulk of COVID-19 cases, high mortality rates and low critical care capacity in rural Georgia are also of critical concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-532
Number of pages6
JournalJACEP Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. JACEP Open published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of the American College of Emergency Physicians.


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • geographic distribution
  • Georgia
  • geospatial
  • incidence
  • novel coronavirus
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • social determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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