Despite similar population and total tests, St. Clair and Madison counties see stark contrast in COVID-19 cases and deaths


MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – There is a stark contrast in the number of cases and deaths between St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois.

Health officials are always looking at news ways to figure out what the numbers tell us and these differences are certainly worth noting, a spokeswoman for the Madison County Health Department said.

The two counties have close to the same population: about 260,000. They’ve also tested nearly the same amount of people for COVID-19: between 21,000 and 21,400 people.

Whereas Madison County has 1,090 positive cases and 70 deaths (58 in group homes or long-term care), St. Clair County has been hit twice as hard, with 2,370 positive cases and 144 deaths (92 in group homes or long-term care).

Though health officials have yet to pinpoint reasons, residents have ideas. They notice more people wearing masks in Edwardsville, Collinsville, and Alton in Madison County, as opposed to Fairview Heights, Belleville, and East St. Louis in St. Clair County.

Also, while the total populations may be virtually the same, there’s a noticeable difference in population density, residents said.

“There’s, in my opinion, in St. Clair County more higher pockets of density there,” said Ryan O’Day, owner of Wang Gang restaurant in Edwardsville. “Fairview Heights, they have a mall. We don’t have a mall. They’ve got a lot more restaurants closer (together). They’re smaller; a smaller footprint, not as much area or space. The density probably plays into it.”

There were 28 new cases reported in Madison County on Wednesday and 40 in St. Clair County, with no additional deaths for either county.

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