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Macon County Has Highest Percentage Of COVID-19 Cases In The Region

Lilly Knoepp
Blue Ridge Public Radio
The town of Highlands has placed signage encouraging citizens to wear masks and social distance in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Macon County now has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 proportionately in the Blue Ridge Public Radio listening area. 

At the end of May, Macon County Public Health announced about 60 new cases – that number has continued to increase. As of Wednesday, there are 173 positive cases in the county, according to the county health department. Macon only has a population of about 36,000. It's listed as having 45 cases per 10,000 people. This can be compared to just 16 cases per 10,000 people and 34 per 10,000 people in Buncombe and Henderson Counties respectively, the two most populous in the region.  

During this time, the county has been providing free drive thru testing. Over 400 people have been tested in Highlands just in the last week during two clinics on June 4 and June 9. So far, the only clusters identified have been at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands and Ebekenezer Congregation in Franklin.

The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation will host another free COVID-19 testing site for frontline workers on Saturday, June 13. Participants must set up an appointment at 828-506-6907. 

Anyone who thinks they might have come into contact with the virus can set up an appointment with the Macon County Public Health Department by calling their COVID Helpline at 828-349-2517. 

Update: A previous version of this article listed the percentage of the  population in Macon County at almost 5 percent of the population. That was incorrect. It is about .5 percent. 

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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