If this information is accurate***, and if the number of those tested is of significant size, Covington, Virginia has a serious problem with lead in childrens' bloodstreams.
To better understand the magnitude of the problem, I've taken the numbers for the worst ten counties/municipalities in the state in terms of lead content - as tested - along with, for comparison's sake, that which came in with the best score, and converted them into graph form: Click on the image to enlarge it.
The accompanying statistics provided reveal the fact that, among the children tested over the last four years, Covington's rate of elevated lead levels in the bloodstream has gone from 9.7% (in 2002) to 15.7% to 36.6% to 75.1% (in 2005).**
If this is right, Covington has a serious and growing problem.
* "These rates were calculated using populations for 0-5 matching the year of the lead testing. Rates on VDH website use 2000 populations. Results based on one test per child per year. A confirmed elevated blood lead level (EBLL) is defined as a single elevated venous test ≥10 µg/dL or two elevated capillary tests within 84 days/12 weeks and is only counted once in the year in which it initially occurred. The reporting of elevated blood lead levels is required under the Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control. Effective July 1, 2001, regulations require the reporting of all lead tests performed on children under 72 months of age. The number of children tested each year is influenced by several factors that include the number of children born in Virginia each year, migration of children into and out of the state or to a different locality, and the number of children tested in compliance with the regulations. Regulations only require testing at 1 and 2 years of age if determined to be at risk. These statistics are preliminary, as the database will accept historical data as made available and continuous data quality control may depict minor changes in data."
** The last year for which data is provided.
*** In the world of statistics, this would be viewed as an outlier (an extreme deviation from the mean). How about we find out if that's the case.