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Stanly crosses 650 Covid cases

Stanly County had 90 active coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing its cumulative total to at least 685, according to data from the health department. There are eight people who are currently hospitalized and 587 people have recovered.

There are eight deaths in the county, including an inmate in his 50s at Albemarle Correctional Institution who died last week.

A majority of the cases, 501, have been transmitted through human to human contact, while 147 have been transmitted through community spread. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

The percentage of tests that have come back positive is 9 percent, which is higher than the statewide total of 7 percent. An estimated 7,369 people have been tested.

The county has experienced a 150 percent increase since June 21, when there were only 274 reported cases. The county’s highest one-day total of cases occurred a few weeks ago on July 9, when there were 47 new cases according to data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

There have been nine outbreaks in the county in congregate living facilities, the largest of which has come from Albemarle Correctional, where 100 inmates and at least 17 staff members have been infected.

Albemarle leads the county with around 310 cases, followed by New London with 131 cases, Norwood with roughly 71 cases, Oakboro with 44 cases and Locust with 42 cases, according to the DHHS data.

According to the Harvard University interactive COVID risk assessment map, which charts coronavirus risks by state and county according to the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, Stanly ranks 32nd in the state as of Monday with 19.8 new cases per day, a major improvement from last Friday, when the state ranked 12th.

An event risk planning tool was recently developed at Georgia Tech, which uses real-time COVID-19 data from across the states to estimate the chances that at least one infected person will be at an event, also taking into account the likely crowd size. For a gathering of 50 people in Stanly, for example, the tool shows there is an 81 percent chance that at least one person would be infected, while for a gathering of 100 people, the chance increases to 95 percent.

Stanly has less confirmed cases than all of its nearby counties, many which are larger, except Anson (267), Montgomery (456) and Richmond (403).

Gov. Roy Cooper said last week that Phase Two of the state’s reopening will be extended another three weeks until at least Aug. 7.

He also announced schools will be open next month for a blend of in-person and remote learning with a raft of safety protocols that will be in place including daily temperature tests, face covering requirements for students, teachers and staff and limiting capacity in the schools.

Stanly County Schools is planning for traditional in-person learning for elementary students and a hybrid plan for middle and high school students while Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College are also planning on a mix of in-person and online courses.

As of Monday, at least 101,046 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,642 have died. More than 1.4 million tests have also been completed. The state had its highest one-day total Saturday, with 2,481 cases reported.

DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said last week that the case numbers continue to “trend upward” and the trajectory of hospitalizations continue to trend upward “but we still have capacity.”

“We continue to simmer, but we’ve avoided boiling over as many states are doing now,” Cohen added.

The number of people reported hospitalized with the coronavirus in North Carolina reached another single-day high on Friday, with 1,180, with 91 percent of hospitals reporting.

Stanly is part of a 13-county group called the Metrolina Healthcare Preparedness Region, which since June 21 has had more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other region, according to DHHS. It recently released more detailed information on COVID-19 hospital admissions and ICU use by region.

On Sunday, 317 patients in the Metrolina region were hospitalized with COVID-19. Twenty-three had been admitted within the past 24 hours, and 105 suspected of having COVID-19 had been admitted in that time, with 94 percent of hospitals reporting. Hospitals in the region had 84 adult patients in ICUs.

In the Metrolina Region, there are currently 793 empty inpatient hospital beds, including 76 ICU beds, along with 513 available ventilators.

The demographic numbers continue to stay relatively constant in Stanly, with people ages 25 to 49 being the group most likely to contract the virus (42 percent of all cases) followed by those ages 50 to 64 (24 percent). With school about to start in a few weeks, children younger than 17 and those ages 18-24 have each accounted for 9 percent of all cases.

Males in Stanly accounted for 53 percent of the cases while Hispanics, which only make up about 4 percent of the county population, account for 19 percent of cases.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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