By Dr. Peter J. Plantes

August 27, 2020

This week seven Public Use Microdata Area (PUMAs) qualified as top national “emerging hotspots” to watch. The good news is that there are only 7 County areas that meet the criteria. The headline here is that the wave of accelerating sites is present in multiple “suburban” communities across the country in multiple different states. 

Top 7 Counties with the Largest Magnitude of Change determined by LRI x ‘7vs7’ rate for August 24, 2020

local risk index

*Washington County, Wisconsin is northwest of Milwaukee. The Democratic National Convention ended just a week before these stats were collected. With the influx of the people that came into town for the convention, we will need to watch if this local hotspot (LRI x ‘7vs7’ ratio = 43.05) will spark COVID-19 infections in a number of folks now traveling back to their home states. Worse yet, the national news crews now move to Washington DC to cover the Republican Convention just after being here in the Milwaukee area. We are ‘one nation’ and COVID-19 does not respect state borders.

Platte County, Missouri is North of Kansas City, MO.

Leon Florida is the county holding Tallahassee (the state capital). Activities in state government circles that have maintained little or late support for masks have sparked hotspot outbreaks in other state capitals.  Mississippi state capital of Jackson had a severe spike throughout June into July linked back to state workers and politicians in the legislature not wearing masks nor keeping a safe distance from each other. 

*Craighead County Arkansas is just northeast of Memphis across the Mississippi River. These are poorer areas in terms of socioeconomic variables where COVID-19 is known to spread fast with a larger number of serious cases. 

*Prince William County Virginia is a commuter suburb southwest of DC. We hate to see this hotspot, It feeds commuters into DC that are likely to support the operations of the Republican National Convention this week. The RNC activities are planned around the White House and other regional public facilities. (e.g. Ft. McHenry, MD).  Mixed with those coming in from many parts of the county and the news crews coming out of Milwaukee’s Democratic National Convention last week, this is likely to be a serious “spreader event.”

McHenry County Illinois is just northeast of Chicago, and also west of *Kenosha Wisconsin. This community that links 2 income workers that work in Chicago and/or Kenosha is particularly worrisome this week.  The local riots and demonstrations reveal little to no efforts to space 6 feet apart, voices are loud, and masks are few.  This PUMA will be one to watch next week and the weeks to come baked on local events. 

Finally, Macomb County Michigan is north of Detroit.   

* = An area to watch over the next 2 weeks because of socioeconomic indicators or local gathering events this week.

Visit for more hyperlocal insights and to view your county’s current CV19 LRI.

About the Author

Peter J. Plantes, M.D. has three decades of experience creating service and delivery solutions that enhance marketplace success and clinical performance for clinical practice groups, academic faculty group practices, hospitals, health systems, and health care organizations. His success stems from his ability to blend and synergize clinical knowledge, operational expertise, financial performance, and collaborative methodology with his deep commitment to serve patients and improve the health of the community. Dr. Plantes has served in CEO & Physician Executive roles for a number of large healthcare clinical delivery networks including regional community networks, academic practices, national hospital networks, international health systems (Chile, Colombia),  and corporate managed care/HMO networks. 

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