Craven County’s number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are high for a rural county.
New Hanover County, for example, has a population of 219,866 compared to Craven County’s population of 103,374. Wilmington, pop. 122,607, by itself has a larger population than Craven County.
But New Hanover County has 180 confirmed cases and four deaths to Craven County’s 198 cases and five deaths.
Bad as that may seem for Craven County, it’s nothing compared to the hotspot region that starts one county over from Lenoir County, including Duplin and Wayne counties.
Duplin County has a population of 59,350, with 750 cases and 12 deaths. Craven County’s per capita case rate is 19. Duplin’s rate is 127. Let that sink in.
Wayne County is slightly larger than Craven County, with a population of 124,496, but it has reported 1,088 cases and 20 deaths.
These are case numbers that are surpassed only by Mecklinburg, Wake, Durham, Guilford, and Forsyth counties, large counties with large urban centers.
The cause of these rural outbreaks is attributed to food processing plants, where workers work and live in close proximity, have no health insurance, and are inclined to report to work sick out of fear of losing their jobs.
The cluster in Craven County that has added at least 142 cases to Craven County’s 198 total cases, started at a food processing plant in what officials call “a neighboring county” and spread to family, friends, and co-workers.
Meanwhile, here are the numbers for the eight-county region in and around Craven County.