Coronavirus has forced statewide shutdowns across Missouri and Kansas.

Months later, state data reveals which counties are true hot spots when you look per capita, which is what many experts suggest.

Counties with large populations are likely to have more cases. The true hot spots are when you look at both population and number of known cases.

Here’s how the numbers stack up when you evaluate per capita. Missouri directly does this on it’s state website and uses COVID 19 cases per 100,000

MISSOURI MAP

It’s interesting to note there were 15 counties with no positive COVID tests in the state.

Hot spots per capita also include sections of the bootheel.

KCTV5 visited Saline County which has the highest rate. That county is home to several meat packing plants and the health department’s administrator, Tara Brewer, says cases are stabilizing and the high rate reflects aggressive testing in the county.

 “I feel we are going to have learn how to live with it and respect the virus and then get back to the new norm,” Tara Brewer said.

Brewer and her team are posting new signs across the county reminding people to socially distance.

Locally businesses are figuring out that new normal. The flower shop put up ribbons to ensure customers maintain their distance.

The dog groomers no longer allow customers inside, just the pets.

Salon Ego limits people inside the hair salon. But it’s clear customers and staff are thrilled to be back.

“We were ready to do anything to get back open,” owner Wendy Walker said.  “We give them hand sanitizer and they can pick out a mask.”

Kansas

Kansas is similar to Missouri. Coronavirus has unevenly swept through counties. 20 still have no reported cases. While others have been overwhelmed with tracing and testing.

The Kansas Department of Health does not crunch the numbers per capita.

KCTV5’s investigative department did that based on public data and population rates. We used COVID 19 cases per 100,000 just like Missouri.

KANSAS MAP

Ford County’s administrator, JD Gilbert, reports most cases are mild. However Ford County has had it’s share of deaths. 8 people have died from COVID19. 

“I think what’s important to understand… through aggressive testing we are seeing identifying what is there already,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert emphasized that his county has been able to trace all the cases from person to person and currently don’t feel they have “community spread.” Community spread is random positive cases where there is no known source of infection.

Gilbert says plans consistently change as the county battles the virus. The decision to shut down swimming pools was made more than a week ago.  

Here’s another way to look at 1 in 27 people in Ford county have tested positive for COVID-19. The New York Times ranks this quiet county the 10th hottest coronavirus spot in the nation. You can read their report here.

Find Missouri data by clicking here.

Find Kansas data by clicking here.

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