The Chartis Center for Rural Health expanded its research into the factors creating downward pressure on rural hospitals to include the COVID-19 pandemic. Rural communities across America are older, less healthy, and less affluent than their urban counterparts, and face limited – and in some cases declining – access to care. Burdened by the rural hospital closure crisis in which more than 130 rural hospitals have ceased operation since 2010, the emergence of COVID-19 threatens to further erode the rural health safety net.

Between August and November, the percentage of COVID-related adult hospitalizations at rural hospitals jumped from 28 percent to 40 percent.

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