At BocaFirst we have focused our COVID-19 statistics research on Boca Raton, Palm Beach County and the State of Florida. We also research related cities for comparison purposes. One city that caught our attention recently for its relatively large number of COVID-19 cases is Immokalee, Florida.
Immokalee is in Collier County on the western edge of the Everglades. It’s 83 miles from Boca Raton as the crow flies west and 114 miles by land transport. According to the 2010 Census the population is 24,154. The area is heavily agricultural and is one of the major tomato growing centers in the United States.
Current COVID-19 Status
Similar to other rural areas of the United States, they are experiencing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Immokalee has a large migrant worker population. A recent Sun-Sentinel article explains why this particular demographic is at risk. Basically, there is a relatively large degree of communal housing and transportation that helps spread the disease. Also, access to healthcare resources is difficult. As noted in the article Sun Sentinel article on Immokalee, workers requested that the state start testing in March; however, getting no response from the state they contacted Doctors Without Borders, who sent in a team.
Comparison to Boca Raton, Belle Glade and Lake Worth
As shown in the comparison graphic below and reported in an article by WPBF, the number of cases per capita of COVID-19 in Immokalee exceeds cities with similar demographics in Palm Beach County. The two cities in Palm Beach County with the highest number of reported cases per capita are Belle Glade and Lake Worth (Boca Raton is included in the above graphic for comparison purposes, but the average demographic profile is not similar to the other three cities.)
In this article we compared the COVID-19 situation in Immokalee, Florida with two cities in Palm Beach County with similar demographics and increasing infection rates. Immokalee’s per capita infection rate far exceeds that of Belle Glade and Lake Worth. Boca Raton, on the other hand, does not have similar demographics and has a much lower infection rate than the other three cities.