The Lenoir County Health Department reported that county’s sixth and seventh deaths of county of residents who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The patients were older than 65 and both had several underlying medical conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information will be released.

Among neighboring and nearby counties including Craven County, Lenoir County has a high number of cases relative to its population. It reported 158 cases by Monday in a county with a population just shy of 58,000. Craven County has 129 cases in a county with a population just over 103,000.

Craven County’s deaths total four, and it has been five weeks since it reported a death.

For some reason, more rural and smaller populated Lenoir and Craven counties are experiencing higher case counts and higher death rates than what one would expect for this region.

Pitt County has 213 cases in a county with a population just over 176,000, with just three deaths, and Onslow County has 75 cases with a population just over 192,000 and just two deaths.

Fatalities are a trailing edge indicator of the pandemic’s impacts. Once a patient is hospitalized, it can take days or weeks before a patient succumbs to the virus.

Craven County’s case count more than doubled last week, and the number of active cases went from a low of three at the beginning of May, to 85 cases as of Monday. Virtually all have been told to recover at home if they are experiencing symptoms or not. There was only one Craven County resident reported at CarolinaEast Medical Center on Monday.

People who dismiss the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic say that the death count is artificially inflated because many of those who died, including for example the two who just died in Lenoir County, had other health issues.

No one disputes that pre-existing conditions contribute to complications and deaths with COVID-19. The point is, for these patients, their demise is accelerated because of the virus. People who may have lived many more years with their medical conditions, are dying because they are unable to fight off COVID-19.


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