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The United States of America passed a grim milestone on Thursday as the number of victims to the COVID19 Pandemic surpassed 250,000... and counting.

In North Carolina, the death toll rose to 4,936, while the spread of the virus throughout the state and the country shows no signs of abating. With record breaking cases and hospitalizations announced every day, the disease has changed the lives of Americans both in cities and rural areas. While New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic in March and April, now, rural counties in Kansas, South Dakota, Virginia and Georgia top the list for the highest number of deaths per 100,000 people.

In partnership with ABC News and ABC-owned television stations, the ABC11 I-Team met with faith leaders, funeral home directors and business owners in some of the communities hardest hit by the pandemic in North Carolina.

For every number there is a name; a departed smile behind every statistic.