JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An average of one in every 16 people in Florida has tested positive for coronavirus this year. But those cases were not equally distributed throughout the state. We know long-term-care facilities and prisons were hit hard. And while South Florida and urban areas showed the most cases early in the pandemic, the caseloads have somewhat evened up across much of the state.
The Florida Department of Health began including a ZIP code breakdown on its COVID-19 dashboard months ago, but with cases soaring beyond early expectations, the vast majority of the map is the same color: red.
News4Jax just updated our look at where COVID has hit the hardest across greater Jacksonville, finding the most cases in Northeast Jacksonville, Southside, East Arlington, Jacksonville Beach and parts of the Westside -- all with rates of infection at or above the state average. The highest concentration of cases was in 32202, which has a smaller population than many ZIP codes but includes the Duval County jail and Lot J of TIAA Bank Field, where the city’s largest COVID-19 testing site was located for the first several months of the pandemic. (Cases are sometimes initially listed in the ZIP code where the person was tested and some were never updated.)
In Clay County, while the ZIP codes that include Orange Park, Fleming Island and Middleburg have the highest number of cases, southeast Clay, including Green Cove Springs, have the most cases per capita.
In St. Johns County, the Northwest, Ponte Vedra Beach and an area south of St. Augustine have the highest number of cases, but the rate of infections in all 11 of the county’s ZIP codes is below the state average.
The area of Nassau County that includes Fernandina Beach had the most cases of COVID-19 in the county, but the ZIP code including Yulee had a higher rate of infections -- 1 in 16 -- matching the state average.
Because of a relatively low population, Baker County is an example of how a large prison can skew the statistics. One in every seven people in 32087 tested positive for the virus, but that ZIP also includes Baker Correctional Institution, where 568 cases were counted this year -- based on the last release of Department of Corrections data from earlier this month. That doesn’t mean the rest of the county had a low infection rate. The 32063 area that includes Macclenny -- and several long-term care facilities -- had one in every 13 people counted among the 1.2 million Floridians to have contracted the virus.