COVID-19: Central Valley statistics

Central California, more commonly referred to as the Central Valley, is made up of at least 15 counties. For simplicity’s sake, I will focus on the much larger and more known counties: Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Merced. I will also name each county’s largest city in parenthesis. The most simple stats to interpret are confirmed positive cases, deaths, and those recovered (which won’t be covered for now). Death rate is the amount of deaths divided by positive cases, with the total number of positive cases to population percentage being cases being divided by population. COVID-19 statistics are most often given on a per county basis, not per city. (Though, since each county’s largest city makes up a sizable portion of its total population (Fresno city makes up around 50% of its county population), you could easily apply the counties’ data to its respective large city.)

Side note: Not all of the counties’ sites provide the same information, especially when it comes to all tests carried out (most only mention the total number of positive cases), those currently hospitalized or are active cases, and charts detailing daily changes in deaths and cases. All the Covid-19 stats here are all based on 6/25’s numbers from each of the counties’ websites. All counties are currently experiencing spikes in cases and hospitalizations. Across all of them, there was an increase in hospitalizations by 20% in the past seven days, and 60% over the past two weeks. (According to this The Fresno Bee article).

Fresno (also a city in name)

Fresno County is the largest county in the Central Valley, reaching almost one million in population (999,101). Fresno has the 3rd highest death rate (1.8%) and the 2nd highest total number of deaths (71). Fresno has the 2nd highest of total cases (4053) and ranks the 3rd highest in the cases to population percentage (0.41%). Fresno is also approaching a 9% positvity rate; it had reached 8% weeks ago.

San Joaquin (Stockton)

San Joaquin county is 762,148 in total population. Proportionally, its statistics is the most similar to Fresno, matching Fresno’s death rate (1.8%) with 1.7%, alongside with the positive cases to total population percentages (0.41% vs 0.38%). Just like Fresno, this means San Joaquin isn’t doing very well; it had 250 new cases last Saturday, surpassing Sacramento county’s cases (it now totals 2,440). San Joaquin has a total of 2,884 cases and 49 deaths.

Stanislaus (Modesto)

Stanislaus county has a population of a little more than half a million (550,660). It has the 2nd highest death rate, but the 2nd lowest cases to population percentage (0.32%). Their hospitals are starting to see more COVID-19 patients; 82 in total, and 27 in ICUs.

Merced (also a city in name)

Merced is the smallest county out of the six, as it barely exceeds a quarter of a million (277,680) in population. Current data suggests that Merced is not very hard hit by covid-19, as it has much less cases and deaths per capita. Merced also has the least amount of cases, and the lowest case to population percentage. Despite that, Merced isn’t doing well. According to the Merced Sun-Star, their cases and deaths are experiencing a spike.

Tulare (Visalia)

Tulare county is 466,195 in population. They currently have 3,646 cases. Relative to their population, this makes Tulare county have the highest number of positive cases confirmed. They also have the highest death rate (3.3%) and amount of deaths; being the only county with triple digit deaths (119) despite being less than half the population of Fresno. Devin Nunes can likely take some of the blame for having the worst statistics (since he currently “represents” Tulare county)

Kern (Bakersfield)

Kern county is comparable to Fresno county in size, as it also nears one million in population (900,000). It also shares similar statistics, though they have more cases (4182) and slightly less deaths (64). Kern county is currently experiencing a spike in the number of new cases. They had 84 new cases on Tuesday, and a whopping 118 new cases this Friday.


None of the counties have been close to fully taking care of its COVID-19 outbreak, as case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths spike again. The 3 largest Fresno, Kern, and San Joaquin (the largest) all share similar stats when it comes to positive cases and deaths, ranging from 1.5%-1.8%. For the smaller, other three, their stats are drastically different. Tulare for example, has more than double the death rate (3.3% vs 1.4%) for positive cases and more than triple the amount of positive cases to total population when compared to Merced. At this moment, Merced is the least impacted, while Tulare is the hardest hit.