Seeking elusive hints from Craven County’s COVID-19 cluster
UPDATED AND REVISED WITH NEW INFORMATION: A source informed me of some details off the record, so I am almost as limited in what I can say as officials are. I can say that the initial exposure likely occurred outside Craven County and was work-related. It spread among family and friends due to a close family and social structure. It was not due to a protest, concert, or party.
The number of Craven County’s laboratory-confirmed novel coronavirus cases increased by 13 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 93, according to the Craven County Health Department.
All 13 new cases were traced back to a cluster of family, friends, and co-workers. The total count is 38 — so far.
It appears that the majority of the cases in that cluster reside in the 28562 ZIP code, which includes west New Bern, Trent Woods, River Bend, and the U.S. 17 corridor to the Jones County line.
On Friday, the Craven County Health Department released its weekly demographic report of COVID-19 cases, but the report did not include race or ethnicity.
Over the past three weeks, several interesting changes emerged in the nature of COVID-19 cases in Craven County compared to the first report that was issued:
There are now COVID-19 patients between the ages of birth to 17, at 2 percent, compared to none three weeks ago. The number is probably two patients.
There was a slight increase in the percentage of young adults between 18-24, probably one patient.
The percentage of patients between the ages of 25 and 49 increased from 29% to 42% — probably 13 more patients.
The percentage of patients with COVID-19 over 65 decreased from 32% to 19%, due to the increase of younger people contracting the disease.
The gender percentages did not change significantly.
It is important to bear in mind that the cluster that emerged earlier this week accounted for a 30 percent increase in the total number of cases in Craven County. Such a significant number attributed to one cluster makes it easier to draw conclusions based on previously available data.
You can conclude that the cluster included younger and middle-age adults, and possibly children but few or no older adults.
In initial reporting, the Health Department reported 14 cases in the cluster, with an additional 10 the next day and one the following day. The cluster was first described as family and friends, but later expanded to include co-workers.
Because the Health Department did not release race and ethnicity data, it is impossible to determine what impact the cluster had on those percentages in Craven County.
The earlier report showed that 61 percent of Craven County’s COVID-19 cases were black or African American, 39 percent were white, and 3% were Hispanic.
Revealing revised race and ethnicity figures now would reveal the race and ethnicity of the individuals in the cluster, and possibly make it easier to identify patients, thus violating federal HIPAA privacy regulations.
Though Craven County has the second highest number of deaths among its neighboring and nearby counties, the death rate is approximately half that of the state per 100,000 people (see information, below). In this area, Lenoir County has had five deaths, Craven County has had four deaths, Carteret County has had three deaths, and Pitt, Onslow, and Jones counties have had two deaths each.
Craven County COVID-19 Cases by Age, Gender, and Death Rate
Percent of Total Cases
Percent of Total Cases
*Rates are calculated using population estimates from the US Census Bureau
When using the NCDHHS COVID-19 site to stay up to date, please keep in mind that county case numbers may change once residency is verified. Therefore, the total number on the county map may differ from the number of Craven County Cases.
*Charts contain data collected up to May 14, 2020.
Note: As you review the data, please be aware this data is preliminary and may change as cases are investigated. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Also, the data is representative of the confirmed cases, not of all COVID-19 cases in Craven County.