Introduction and statement of purpose
Understanding a community’s demographics and structures is essential in designing and formulating effective community health measures. This work provides an in-depth analysis of the community health issue of COVID-19 in Knox County, Indiana. The work will focus on the health status of the community, including the major causes of death, the infant mortality rates, and the availability and accessibility of COVID-19-related health resources. The community’s economic status, including the unemployment data, median income, poverty rates, and percentage of women and children in the community, will also be discussed. Finally, the housing situation in the County, including the average cost of housing, and the type of housing units available, will be analyzed in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic impact and preparedness.
Statement of Purpose
This work aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the Knox County, Indiana community. By examining the community data on health status, economic status, and housing, this work proposes to identify any potential disparities or vulnerable populations that may be disproportionately affected by the virus. Additionally, this work will provide insight into the availability and accessibility of health resources in the County and the effectiveness of the County’s response to the pandemic. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform policy and decision-making to improve the health and well-being of the community during and after the
The selected community is located in Knox County in the state of Indiana, with a zip code 46534.
According to the 2020 United States Census data, Knox County, Indiana, had a total population of 38,440. The population is smaller when compared to other counties in Indiana. The age breakdown of the population is as follows:
0-4 years: 2,827 (7.3%)
5-9 years: 2,818 (7.3%)
10-14 years: 2,814 (7.3%)
15-19 years: 2,813 (7.3%)
20-24 years: 2,274 (5.9%)
25-29 years: 2,272 (5.9%)
30-34 years: 2,230 (5.8%)
35-39 years: 2,153 (5.6%)
40-44 years: 2,176 (5.7%)
45-49 years: 2,404 (6.3%)
50-54 years: 2,766 (7.2%)
55-59 years: 3,108 (8.1%)
60-64 years: 2,958 (7.7%)
65-69 years: 2,312 (6.0%)
70-74 years: 1,857 (4.8%)
75-79 years: 1,397 (3.6%)
80-84 years: 964 (2.5%)
85+ years: 902 (2.3%)
(U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021)
The mean age of the population is 42.2 years Which is consistent with the national average. The age distribution is generally evenly distributed across all age groups, with the ages 45-49 at 6.3% as the largest group. The racial breakdown of the population consists of a majority white race at 37,532 (97.8%), followed by African Americans at 216 (0.6%), followed by American Indians and Alaska Natives at 11 (0.03%), followed by Asians at 47 (0.1%), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders at 4 (0.01%), and some other race at 101 (0.3%). 1,3% of the population, at 484, is biracial (U.S. Census Bureau quickfacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021). With a small percentage of minority groups, there is a lower risk of health outcome disparities among the population. The high percentage of older adults could indicate a higher risk of severe illness and death in the event of COVID-19 infection.
Gender and cultural Ancestry
The female gender in Knox, Indiana, constitutes the largest proportion at 50.3%, which equates to 19,358 inhabitants as compared to the males, who constitute 48% at a population of 19.082. The gender distribution is almost equal. The most common ancestries in Knox County are of German descent at 37.8%, Irish at 17.4%, and English at 15.8%. Other common ancestries include American at 8.6%, French at 4.9%, and Scottish Ancestry at 4.1% (U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021). This distribution of Ancestry is consistent with the historical settlement patterns in the area.
Knox County, Indiana’s most common occupations are sales and office at 15.4%, production, transportation, and material moving at 14.5%, management, business, science, and arts at 14.1%, and service occupations at 13.8%. Other occupations include construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair at 12.8%; natural resources, construction, and maintenance at 6.7%; health care practitioners and technical occupations at 6.5%; food preparation and serving-related occupations at 5.2%; education, training, and library occupations at 4.7% (U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021). Knox’s occupational distribution suggests that the economy of the County is diverse and includes a mix of white-collar and blue-collar jobs.
Recreational and spiritual resources
Knox County has various recreational resources, including state parks, university YMCA facilities, and community parks, which offer opportunities for outdoor activities, sports, and fitness. These resources include the Starve Hollow State Recreation Area Park offering hiking, camping, boating, fishing, boating, and camping opportunities; the Bicknell Park with a playground, basketball courts, and a baseball diamond; and Vincennes University with a community fitness center, sports fields, and a swimming pool. The Knox County YMCA has fitness classes, sports teams, and pool facilities.
Knox County has a diverse range of spiritual resources available, including Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and other religious resources for Buddhist and Islam religions. These include a variety of Christian denominations, including the Baptist churches, the Bible Baptist Church Parsonage, the Calvary Baptist Church, the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Catholics, and the Knox united Methodist church. There are two Jewish synagogues, the Temple Israel and the temple Shalom. There are two mosques, including the Islamic center of Bloomington and the Islamic center at Evansville.
Knox County has a relatively high educational level, with a significant percentage of the population having some college education or degree. The county education levels consist of Individuals with less than a high school diploma at 10.3%, 21,9% High school graduates, 25.5% with some college experience but no degree, 7.7% Associate degree holders, 16.9% Bachelor’s degree holders, and 7.7% Graduates or professional degree holders (U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021). Education is slightly higher compared to the national level Knox County’s. The percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher is also higher at 25.6% compared to 20.4% nationally. However, the percentage of the population with less than a high school education is lower (10.3% compared to 12.4% nationally); these trends suggest that the County has a relatively well-educated population compared to the national average.
Knox County has several public schools, including the Vincennes Community School Corporation consisting of 4 elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school; the Knox Community School Corporation consisting of 2 elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, and the North Knox School Corporation consisting of 1 elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. There are also several private /Parochial schools, including the Vincennes Catholic School offering a K-8 program and a preschool program, and the Good Shepherd Lutheran School offering a K-8 program.
However, Knox has a relatively low educational level since most of the population has not completed high school. This could be indicative of a greater need for educational resources for the community to avail COVID-19 information and prevention measures. The city has only one two-school corporation which serves all educational levels meaning that there could be limited educational resources, which can be challenging when providing accurate information about COVID-19.
Health status of the community
According to data from the Indiana State Department of Health, the leading causes of death in Knox County in 2019 were Cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and heart disease, which cumulatively accounted for over 50% of deaths in the County (InDepth Profile: STATS Indiana, 2021). As compared to the state of Indiana as a whole, Knox County had a slightly higher rate of deaths due to Cancer and heart disease but a lower rate of deaths due to chronic lower respiratory disease. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in Covid-19-related deaths in the County. Compared to other counties in the state, Knox County has a relatively higher death rate from COVID-19, which could be attributed to the larger proportion of the elderly population.
The infant mortality rate in Knox County in 2019 stood at 7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, slightly higher than the state average of 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (U.S. Census Bureau quickfacts: Knox County, Indiana, 2021). This suggests that there could be additional health challenges faced by infants and pregnant women in the County. The availability of hospitals and primary care providers in Knox County is similar to the state average. The County also has several primary care providers, including family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine. In terms of COVID-19 resources
In terms of health resources related to COVID-19, Knox County has several hospitals, including Good Samaritan Hospital, which doubles up as a designated COVID-19 treatment facility besides emergency care, surgery, and diagnostic services. The County has a sufficient number of primary care providers to meet the population’s needs, including pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine. The County also has a dedicated COVID-19 website and hotline for residents to access resources related to the virus. Knox county has also implemented several secondary and tertiary prevention measures, such as widespread testing and contact tracing, besides providing social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. Overall, there is a robust infrastructure in place to address the COVID-19 health crisis. Knox County has various primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention resources, including community-based organizations and clinics that offer COVID-19 prevention, education, and testing. However, there could be accessibility challenges, particularly for individuals in rural areas of the County.
The economic status of the community
The data from the U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana (2019) reports that as of September 2021, the unemployment rate in Knox County stood at 3.4%, which is lower than the state average of 4.0%. However, the County’s unemployment rate was at its highest in April 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic at 14.6%. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data, the median household income in Knox as of 2019 was $52,937, slightly lower than the Indiana state average of $55,749. In 2019, Knox County had a slightly higher poverty rate of 12.5% compared to the state average of 11.5%. The American Community Survey of 2019 also reported that 29.2% of households in Knox County were headed by women, higher than the state average of 27.7%. 24.9% of the county’s population was under 18, almost similar to the state average of 24.2%. Overall, a significant portion of the community lives in poverty, which increases the difficulty in accessing the necessary COVID-19 resources and support, such as healthcare and information. The relatively higher poverty rate also increases the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus for this group, indicating the need for additional support for these groups.
The median home value in Knox County in October 2021 was $97,900, lower than the state average of $139,200 (InDepth Profile: STATS Indiana, 2021). Most housing units in Knox County had three bedrooms (35.5%) and two bathrooms (44.5%). The majority of housing units in Knox County were owner-occupied (62.9%) as opposed to being rented (37.1%), meaning that most homes are single-family homes which could be advantageous in controlling the spread of Covid-19 by allowing physical distancing (InDepth Profile: STATS Indiana, 2021),. The high percentage of renters, however, indicates that there could be a higher risk of exposure and transmission of the virus since renters will usually have less control of their living spaces. Additionally, since the median value of owner-occupied housing is comparatively low, some community members may lack sufficient financial resources to modify their homes in an effort to reduce the spread of covid-19.
Based on the data provided in Knox County, Indiana, we can conclude that the community is small and relatively homogenous, with a higher poverty rate and a slightly more significant proportion of adults. The leading causes of death in the area are Cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and heart disease, which significantly correlate to a higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. The community’s small size, limited resources, and the high percentage of older adults indicate the challenges in the accessibility and adequacy of Covid-19 health resources. The critical access hospital may face challenges in capacity and equipment to handle COVID-19 cases, and the limited number of primary care providers may cause difficulty in managing and tracking cases. There is a need to provide additional support services to those living in poverty to address potential disparities in accessing healthcare resources. Regarding housing, since most houses are family-owned, this could be beneficial to preventing the spread of Covid-19 as it allows for physical spacing, and owners have more control and autonomy over their living spaces. There is a need to address the high prevalence of chronic illnesses to mitigate the associated risk of mortality in the event of Covid-19 infection.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [article title], on the Internet at [http web address] (visited [date accessed]).
InDepth Profile: STATS Indiana. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://www.stats.indiana.edu/profiles/profiles.asp?scope_choice=a&county_changer=18083
U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Knox County, Indiana. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/knoxcountyindiana