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Stanly hits roughly 800 COVID cases

Stanly County added 26 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing its cumulative total to 794, according to data from the health department. It’s an increase from the 19 new cases on Thursday.

There are 163 active cases and 10 people who are hospitalized, while 621 people who previously had the virus have recovered.

There are now 10 deaths in the county, including an inmate in his early 60s at the Albemarle Correctional Institution who died at the hospital Thursday. He’s the second inmate at ACI to die as a result of complications from the virus; the first inmate, in his late 50s, died July 14.

A majority of the cases, 596, have been transmitted through human to human contact, while 176 have been transmitted through community spread.

The percentage of tests that have come back positive is around 10 percent, which is slightly higher than the statewide total of 9 percent. An estimated 7,797 people have been tested.

The county has experienced a 158 percent increase in cases since June 24, when there were only 308 reported cases, and a 44 percent increase since July 10, when there were 553 cases.

The county recorded one of its highest single-day cases totals on Wednesday with 38 new cases, according to data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The only higher totals occurred July 9, when there were 47 reported cases, and June 22, when there were 43 cases.

There have been nine outbreaks in the county in congregate living facilities, the largest of which has come from Albemarle Correctional, where 103 inmates and at least 29 staff members have been infected. The second largest outbreak is at Woodhaven Court, where 41 residents and staff have been infected and two residents have died.

Albemarle continues to lead the county with around 352 cases, followed by New London with 140 cases, Norwood with roughly 78 cases, Oakboro with 49 cases and Locust with 44 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 17th in the state as of Friday with 25.2 new cases per day, a better result than earlier in the week, when the state ranked 32nd.

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 78 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 (269), Montgomery (491) and Richmond (422).

As of Monday, at least 108,995 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,746 have died. More than 1.5 million tests have also been completed.

The number of people reported hospitalized with the coronavirus in North Carolina reached another single-day high on Wednesday, with 1,228, with 92 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.

On Thursday, 328 patients in the Metrolina region were hospitalized with COVID-19. Forty-nine had been admitted within the past 24 hours, and 119 suspected of having COVID-19 had been admitted in that time, with 100 percent of hospitals reporting. Hospitals in the region had 98 adult patients in ICUs.

In the Metrolina Region, there were 1,132 empty inpatient hospital beds, including 76 ICU beds, along with 613 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 (44 percent of all cases) followed by those ages 50 to 64 (23 percent). With school about to start in a few weeks, children younger than 17 and those ages 18-24 have each accounted for around 9 percent of all cases.

White people account for 67 percent of cases, while Black people, which make up just 11 percent of the county’s population, account for 29 percent of cases.

Males in Stanly accounted for 51 percent of the cases while Hispanics, which only make up about 4 percent of the county population, account for 18 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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