COVID death rates concerning Triad health officials


GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Piedmont Triad is seeing positive COVID trends with cases and hospitalizations going down, but there is one thing troubling health directors, the deaths.

“When it comes to COVID-19, deaths in Guilford County scores the highest, we are in the highest-ranking county in North Carolina for deaths per 100,000,” said Dr. Iulia Vann, Guilford County’s health director, at a County Commissioner meeting Thursday night.

The county is experiencing a higher than normal death rate compared to counties of similar size.

“We have a lot of long-term care facilities with a lot of vulnerable individuals in those facilities have been very disproportionately affected,” Vann said.

The health director also pointed out the community is sicker and when you add a new virus on top of that, it can have a very negative outcome.

COVID is hitting rural counties hard too.

“The rate of death in Wiles is 1 in 400 people, and that means just about everyone in Wilkes County probably knows somebody that’s died of COVID and that is just horrible,” said Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert.

The circle is tightening.

“It’s no longer, my neighbor has a cousin who passed away, it’s more like, I have a friend from high school, or I have a co-worker,” said Lillian Koontz, public health director for Davidson County.

In the last month, COVID has killed 75 people in Davidson County, the highest rate of death they’ve seen since the pandemic started.

“We saw vaccines as the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic and as it turned out, vaccine hesitancy is real,” Koontz said.

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