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Inside the small Texas county with the most coronavirus cases per capita in the state

Dumas County is known for its cattle ranches that supply a big chunk of the beef Americans eat. But now it's known for a different statistic.

DUMAS, Texas — Nowhere has the coronavirus been more of a challenge for local officials than in the panhandle of Texas, particularly in Dumas, Texas.  

Dumas lies in the heart of Texas cattle country where, according to the county judge, 25% of all the beef Americans eat comes from this single county.

But Dumas has a different statistic that it’s become known for. It’s located in the county with the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infections in all of Texas.

One in 41 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus there. Compare that to one in 476 who have tested positive in Travis County.

Health officials point to the meat packing plants for the high number of cases, even though new safety measures now require special masks and workers being kept farther apart on the line and during breaks.

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Still, with concerns over the large numbers of positive cases in Dumas and in nearby Amarillo, Gov. Greg Abbott has delayed the re-opening of most businesses in four Panhandle counties, including this one.  

If there is any good news here, it’s from the local hospital district that reports of 583 total cases as of May 25, 447 people have recovered.

Dumas, Texas, is a community like so many others that face a challenge that’s yet to be overcome.

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