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Rural NC Warned Of Critical COVID-19 Community Spread

NC Counties categorized by tier of community spread. Data from November 6-19, 2020
NC Counties categorized by tier of community spread. Data from November 6-19, 2020

While North Carolina’s urban centers were the sites of COVID-19 concern in March and April, the more sparsely populated parts of the state are now facing the highest rates of community spread of the coronavirus. Today, clusters of infection remain centered in the state’s urban centers, but broader community transmission is increasingly common outside the cities. Host Anita Rao and WUNC's Jay Price discuss rising cases of COVID-19 in rural counties.

Based on data from the first half of November, Durham, Wake, New Hanover and Mecklenburg counties are all classified yellow, in the lowest tier of risk in the state county alert system. Meanwhile, the color-coded county map warns of critical community spread in more rural areas like Bertie, Vance, Hoke, Robeson, Wilkes and Swain counties, all painted red. That classification system is determined through a combination of three metrics: case rate, percent of positive tests and local hospital impact. Host Anita Rao and reporter Jay Price discuss how workplace hazards and fatigue are affecting rural counties. Price is WUNC’s military and veterans affairs reporter.

 

Leading up to the holidays, rural areas already comprised an outsized proportion of positive cases. That trend has worsened, with rural areas making up twice as many new cases as urban and suburban areas.
Credit NC DHHS
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Leading up to the holidays, rural areas already comprised an outsized proportion of positive cases. That trend has worsened, with rural areas making up twice as many new cases as urban and suburban areas.

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.