UNC researchers map COVID-19 risk with ZIP codes

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:40 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - From stadiums to concerts, the risk of catching COVID-19 is present.

UNC professor Paul Delamater is one of many researchers who tracked the risk of catching COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

“Early in the pandemic, I was really struggling with finding information to help me decide if I wanted to go to the grocery store... or this or that,” Delamater said.

Delamater and his colleagues created a map that measures your risk, based off of ZIP codes in North Carolina.

The map can be seen here.

Delamater says he was surprised by the data collected in some parts of the state.

“These days it’s still a pretty high probability to run into someone infectious in the southern, central and eastern parts of the state,” Delamater said.

In eastern North Carolina, some of the following cities have a low risk of catching the virus based on your zip code:

  • Jacksonville - 23%
  • New Bern - 29%
  • Greenville - 31%

According to the map, Ernul in Craven County has the highest percentage rate in the viewing area. With a population of 904 people, there is more than a 60% chance of catching the virus in the town.

As we head into the fall season, ECU’s Dr. Paul Cook believes weather may play a factor in high transmission rates at events.

“We might be in worse shape in the sense that people get more inside as it gets cooler,” Cook said. “That’s the conditions where you see spread of the infection.”

Delamater says that can be prevented if we all follow certain protocols.

“Every event is different. The probability is slim to none if everyone is wearing masks,” Delamater said.

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