While meat processing plants, prisons and group living facilities have been sites of COVID-19 outbreaks across America in recent weeks, new outbreaks are now occurring in small cities across the nation, stemming from essential businesses like Wal-Mart, birthday parties and more.
- 81 employees of Wal-Mart in Worcester, Massachusetts, have tested positive for COVID-19, making it one of the largest outbreaks in the state; the store subsequently closed and has now reopened, reports the Boston Globe.
- Gainesville, Georgia, a city of 33,000 known for its poultry processing plants, has had “exponential” increases in cases, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, with cases in parent Hall County going from 12 new cases per day during the week of March 29 to 95 cases per day last week.
- Utah identified the cities of Provo, Orem and Payson as new coronavirus hospots, pointing to an essential business in Payson and a birthday party in Orem with “dozens of people,” according to KUTV.
- An outbreak at JBS Beef’s plant in Moore County, Texas, has made the Panhandle county of about 21,100 the largest coronavirus hotbed in the state, according to the Texas Tribune.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that when New York City, the center of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak, is excluded from the national coronavirus cases curve, the number of new cases is actually trending upward (and when NYC is included, the curve trends downward).
The largest coronavirus hotbed is Smithfield Foods’ Sioux Fall, South Dakota, pork processing plant, in which more than 800 of 3,700 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Prisons have also been hard-hit by coronavirus—70% of inmates able to be tested in Texas were positive for the disease per the Texas Tribune.