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.
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.