New data shows almost half of NC counties at high COVID risk

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 7:29 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - New research from the Harvard Global Health Institute shows almost half of North Carolina counties are at a “tipping point” for COVID-19 risk.

They found the highest case rate in Eastern Carolina to be in Greene County, with Pitt County, Lenoir County, Duplin County and Bertie County not far behind.

“It hit the bigger counties first," explained Joy Brock, the Health Director in Greene County. “I think now you’re seeing it catch up to the rural populations.”

On the map, this means that those counties have a high weekly average case number per 100,000 people. Researchers say they think those counties should have stay-at-home orders.

Brock says she hopes there is not a shutdown, but the community can do better at wearing masks correctly and following other coronavirus guidelines.

She added that prisons and communal living spaces are part of the problem.

“We’re home to three correctional facilities in Greene County. We have dealt with outbreaks at all three of those facilities,” said Brock.

“We also have long-term care facilities that we’ve been working with that have had outbreaks.”

This includes an outbreak at the Greendale Forest Nursing home in Snow Hill in October, where six residents died.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services says new COVID cases have increased from an average of about 1,200 in a 7-day period in September to 2,700 this month.

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