Stanly County receives ‘F’ on social distancing

One of the more consistent components which directives from both the national and state level have included are the need for citizens to maintain social distancing.

Unacast, a website using a date engine to calculate how well places are practicing social distancing, gives daily grades across the country by state and individual counties from “A” to “F” on how places are doing with the practice.

As of Thursday, Stanly County, as well as the state of North Carolina, have an “F” grade when it comes to social distancing.

Per the Unacast website, the methodology uses six calculations regarding various venues compared to the latest numbers on active COVID-19 cases.

Those questions include:

  • Capture Rate: How many people in your area visit your venue?
  • Catchment Area: Where are your visitors coming from?
  • Cross Visitations: Where else do your visitors go?
  • Dwell Time: How long do visitors stay at your venue?
  • Foot Traffic: How many people are near your venue?
  • Visits: How many people spend time at your venue?

According to the website, Stanly rates “F” in having less than a 25 percent reduction in average mobility, less than 55 percent reduction in non-essential visits and less than 40 percent decrease in encounters density compared to the national baseline.

Of the 100 counties in North Carolina, 45 also rated an “F” in social distancing by the website, including Cabarrus, Rowan, Union and Mecklenburg. Montgomery rated a “D+” and Anson rated “D.”

The only “A” county in the state was Tyrell County on the eastern coast of the state, but it was missing some data for non-essential visits.

Nationwide, Nevada had the best grade of the 50 states with a C+ while Hawaii and the District of Columbia both had a “C.” Twelve states, including both Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Connecticut, Ohio and Rhode Island, had an “F” rating.

Stanly County Manager Andy Lucas said he was not sure how Unacast calculates the rating, but he believes Stanly’s citizens have exercised restraint and generally followed the social distance guidelines from the CDC and North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“Normally this time of year our local ball fields would be filled with parents and grandparents watching kids of all ages play baseball, softball and soccer. That is not the case right now,” Lucas said.

Lucas said his experience at local retail outlets have been one of citizens complying with social distancing guidelines.

“The Unacast ranking may suggest we are not doing a good job of social distancing, but it is hard to argue with the fact that we only have 29 cumulative, confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Stanly County, and only seven active, confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Lucas said. “Thus, I would say the health data suggests our citizens are doing a good job with their social distancing efforts, and I anticipate they will continue to exercise good judgment moving forward to keep themselves and others around them safe.”