TAMPA, Fla. - Officials in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties are all working on plans to curb the spread of COVID-19 in so-called hot zones -- zip codes where there have been more than 300 positive cases.
In Hillsborough County, about 13.5% of COVID-19 cases have been in 5 of the county's 50 zip codes: 33612, 33613, 33614, 33610 and 33511.
Tampa Emergency Coordinator John Antapasis said there are a few factors playing into the phenomenon.
"One of them is a higher poverty rate and lower socioeconomic status, and also a lot of our long-term healthcare facilities are in those zip codes and we have seen increased rates," he said.
In Manatee County, more positive cases appear in two zip codes, 34221 and 34208, where a testing site is nearby, but those two zip codes are also heavily populated according to the county's public safety director, Jacob Saur.
"Both of those are in our urban corridor within the county and they have a wide range of residents in the county," said Saur.
He said cases in long-term care facilities located within those zip codes spiked early on. Now the numbers are still high, but for other reasons.
"We know that within 34208 and 34221, that’s a younger population. It also holds a lot of the underserved, such as the Latin community, the African American community, that may be at greater risk because of existing health conditions or lack of access to readily-available healthcare," said Saur.
Organizations like MCR Health in Manatee County are working to reach out to those residents.
"We have over 1,000 positives as we speak and thousands more test results pending. We decided to ramp up our test offerings," explained the CEO and president of MCR Health, Patrick Carnegie.
He said since mid-March, they've tested more than 10,000 people and they're not turning anyone away.
"The access is available for anyone and everyone to get tested. It’s a tough challenge but we are built for this and we will get it done," he said.
In Pinellas County, a portion of the 5,000 COVID-19 cases comes from two zip codes: 33712 where there are 321 cases and 33705 where there are 348 cases.
Zip codes from Pasco, Sarasota and Polk counties remain out of the hot zone for now, but numbers are increasing.
"It doesn't mean if you're in a zip code with lower virus, it does not mean you are not susceptible to getting this virus," said Antapasis.
To view confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your zip code, visit https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/96dd742462124fa0b38ddedb9b25e429 and click on the "cases by zip code" tab.
Below are hot zone zip codes, by county.
Desoto County: 34266: 488 cases
Hillsborough County: 33612: 401 cases; 33613: 315 cases; 33614: 309 cases; 33610: 351 cases; 33511: 306 cases
Manatee County: 34221: 366 cases; 34208: 453 cases
Pinellas County: 33712: 321 cases; 33705: 348 cases
Below are zip codes with the highest number of cases in the county, but are not considered hot zones:
Citrus County: 34453: 20 cases; 34461: 20 cases
Hernando County: 34608: 58 cases; 34609: 52 cases
Polk County: 33880: 226 cases
Sarasota County: 34235: 109 cases; 34237: 102 cases