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Top 5 mountain counties for COVID-19 per 10,000 residents

Top 5 mountain counties for COVID-19 per 10,000 residents
News 13 analyzed state health department data and found Macon, McDowell, Henderson, Rutherford and Jackson counties have the highest COVID-19 case rates per 10,000 residents in counties across Western North Carolina. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

News 13 analyzed state health department data and found Macon, McDowell, Henderson, Rutherford and Jackson counties have the highest COVID-19 case rates per 10,000 residents in counties across Western North Carolina.

The list, which includes Henderson County, doesn’t phase Sandra Whitaker and Bob Barnes, from Brevard, who drove to Flat Rock to eat pizza outdoors at Flat Rock bakery.

“It doesn’t," Whitaker said. “I chose this restaurant because I love this big magnolia tree, and it's outside.”

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Macon County tops the list across mountain counties with the highest ratio of 124 cases per 10,000 residents, according to the state health department.

“We have prioritized the testing on symptomatic patients and those who have had contact with known cases since the beginning, which is going to skew the population of tests towards those more likely to be positive,” Macon County Health Director Kathy McGaha said.

According to the state, McDowell County has the second highest ratio of mountain counties with 118 positives per 10,000 residents.

Number three on the list is Henderson County with 113 positive cases per 10,000 residents.

“Our higher rate is potentially due to multiple factors,” said Andrew Mundhenk, spokesman for the Henderson County Health Department. “Less compliance with face coverings, the distortion created by our long-term care facility outbreaks, increased cases among young people and the Hispanic population that works in construction and agriculture.”

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Fourth is Rutherford County with 93 cases per 10,000 residents. Jackson County is fifth with 88 cases per 10,000 residents.

Mountain counties top 12 list, according to State Health Department data

  1. Macon County: 124 cases per 10,000 residents, 2 deaths
  2. McDowell County: 118 cases per 10,000 residents, 8 deaths
  3. Henderson County: 113 cases per 10,000 residents, 53 deaths
  4. Rutherford County: 93 cases per 10,000 residents, 13 deaths
  5. Jackson County: 88 cases per 10,000 residents, 3 deaths
  6. Cherokee County: 77 cases per 10,000 residents, 3 deaths
  7. Swain County: 69 cases per 10,000 residents, 2 deaths
  8. Polk County: 64 cases per 10,000 residents, 5 deaths
  9. Buncombe County: 61 cases per 10,000 residents, 45 deaths
  10. Mitchell County: 49 cases per 10,000 residents, 2 deaths
  11. Haywood County: 43 cases per 10,000 residents, 3 deaths
  12. Yancey County: 40 cases per 10,000 residents, 0 deaths
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