Wake has second most cases in NC, but fewer cases per capita than others
Posted June 25, 2020 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2020 6:10 p.m. EDT
While North Carolina’s mask requirement goes into effect Friday afternoon, Raleigh and Knightdale started requiring masks be worn in public nearly a week ago, following similar measures in Durham and Orange counties.
Dr. Nicole Mushonga, an epidemiologist with Wake County Public Health, said the majority of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the county are between 25 and 54. She said she’s not surprised at the rising number of cases in Wake.
“With us opening back up and more people being out and around, there’s just that increased risk of exposure to our population in general,” Mushonga said. “That’s why it’s so important to wear a mask and practice appropriate social distancing to really lower that risk of exposure.”
With more than 4,300 people testing positive for the virus, Wake County has the second highest number of cases in the state, behind Mecklenburg County, which has nearly 10,000 cases.
But when measuring the percentage of the population that has tested positive in Wake County, it’s still fairly low, accounting for about 40 people for every 10,000 who live in the county.
That’s compared with neighboring counties like Johnston, where it’s about 61 of every 10,000 people, and Durham, where that number is 107 per 10,000, according to data released by NCDHHS. Mecklenburg’s rate is 88 per 10,000.
Duplin County currently has the highest rate of infection in the state with 233 positive tests per 10,000 residents. Sampson (149), Wayne (139), Granville (128), Chatham (124) and Lee (121) counties round out the top six counties with highest rates of coronavirus per capita.
Madison County, in the western part of the state, has the lowest percentage, with just four cases for every 10,000 residents. That county has just nine total positive cases.
Mushonga said wearing a mask continues to be the best thing people can personally do to stop the spread of the virus.
“You’re reducing the risk for yourself and for someone else. If you’re potentially an asymptomatic person who is positive with the disease but you don’t know because you don’t have symptoms, wearing that mask reduces the amount of exposure of the disease when you’re out in the community,” Mushonga said.
She says hospitalization rates continue to be a concern as well. “I would say that we’re seeing an increase in those trends with hospitalizations rates. That is what we’re seeing from the data. That’s what it’s showing us. I think we have to continue to watch these trends and watch the data to see where this is actually going.”