Usually, it’s terrific to be No. 1.  It’s great in football, basketball and baseball, for instance.  

However, it’s not good at all to be No. 1 when it comes to COVID-19 deaths.

When compared to its pier counties in the state – 10 counties similar in population that the county is often grouped with for statistical studies – Guilford County is leading in COVID-19 deaths per capita.

Guilford County Health Director Iulia Vann revealed that troubling stat to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners at the board’s Thursday, Oct. 7 meeting.

Vann told the commissioners that, while in some categories the county was doing very well in regard to its COVID-19 numbers, it wasn’t doing well in the category of per capita deaths when compared to pier counties.

“When it comes to COVID-19 deaths, Guilford County scores the highest,” Vann said.

Vann told the board that county health officials and others have had discussions as to why the COVID-19 death rate is so high in Guilford County compared to other similarly situated counties in the state.

“We have a lot of programs for our citizens but that also means we have a lot of adult care facilities,” she said.  “And a lot of individuals in those facilities have been negatively affected by COVID-19.  A lot of deaths that have been reported are in those facilities.”

When compared, in that same category, to national pier counties, Guilford County comes in near the low end of the chart.

“So, we are doing way better than all the counties nationally, but as far as in comparison to North Carolina, we are not doing good in that particular category,” Vann told the board.

The high COVID-19 death rate in Guilford County has been a concern since the early days of the pandemic.

Vann said at the meeting that she believed the large number of elderly care facilities in Guilford County is the main contributor to that negative stat.

She said after the meeting that there could be other causes as well.