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rural health

Horse on a farm field
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Some counties in Florida have reported no -- or very few -- cases of coronavirus, a reason Gov. Ron DeSantis cited Wednesday for waiting so long to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

But Jerne Shapiro, an epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Florida, says the lack of testing – particularly in rural areas – means low numbers may not reflect the real number of infections.

When Shakira Franklin drives from West Baltimore to her job near the city's Inner Harbor, she can feel the summer heat ease up like a fist loosening its grip.

"I can actually feel me riding out of the heat. When I get to a certain place when I'm on my way, I'll turn off my air and I'll roll my windows down," says Franklin. "It just seems like the sun is beaming down on this neighborhood."

There are a lot of challenges to living in the Florida Keys. The biggest is the cost of living. But even some people who can afford to live in the Keys are leaving anyway for another reason — the lack of access to medical care.

Teeth cleaning in process
By Erik Christensen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8412023

Dentists graduate with a lot of student loan debt. That means it's hard for them to set up in rural areas where people might not have much money -- or health insurance.

Crippling Medicaid Cuts Could Upend Rural Health Services

Jul 11, 2017

Each day as Ginger Peebles watches daughter Brenlee grow, she sees the importance of having a hospital close by that delivers babies.

  Florida's rural counties are seeing suicide rates for youth almost double that of the state's large cities. And experts say isolation, poverty, access to firearms and a lack of mental health resources are to blame.