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Stanly has more than 1,700 cases, ranks fourth in state in per capita coronavirus cases

As North Carolina is experiencing a decrease in both daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations per day, Stanly County is still a hot spot in the state, according to multiple indicators.

With an estimated 277 cases per 10,000 residents, the county has the state’s fourth highest rate in cases per capita in the state, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Only Robeson (307 cases), Duplin (360) and Montgomery (362) have more cases per capita.

As of Monday, the county has 1,753 cumulative cases, with 16 people hospitalized and 56 people having died as a result of the coronavirus. There were 311 active cases and 1,386 people who had the virus have recovered. A total of around 13,010 people have been tested.

The county’s positivity rate — which is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive — is 7.8 percent, according to NCDHHS, which is higher than the state’s overall rate of 4.8 percent. The percent positive is a key measure for any community, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, because it gives an indication about how widespread the infection is in a given area. Johns Hopkins notes that if the percent positive in a community is more than 5 percent then it is considered “too high.”

Wendy Growcock, public health education specialist with the health department, said Stanly’s positivity rate is trending in the right direction considering it was deemed a “county of concern” in July, when it’s seven day rolling average was near 13 percent.

“We’ve come a long way in Stanly County,” she said.

Stanly currently has six outbreaks inside congregate living facilities, the largest of which is at the Albemarle Correctional Institution where 313 inmates have tested positive and three have died. That is the second largest outbreak in the state prison system behind only Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro, which has had 466 cases. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases.

The other outbreaks, according to NCDHHS data, include Stanly Manor with 75 cases and six deaths; Woodhaven Court with 72 cases and five deaths; Trinity Place with 56 cases and eight deaths; Bethany Woods with 40 cases; and Forrest Oakes Healthcare Center with 37 cases and seven deaths.

David Jenkins, director of the Stanly County Health Department, said he expects there will be a likely uptick in cases in the next week due to interactions that took place during the Labor Day weekend. He said there were previous spikes in cases in the weeks following other recent holidays such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

In the past several weeks, the county has experienced its top three highest single-day cases totals — 68 cases on Aug. 12, 62 cases on Aug. 6 and 53 cases on Sept. 4.

A total of 205 patients in the 13-county Metrolina Region, which includes Stanly, are hospitalized with COVID-19. Twenty-six were admitted within the past 24 hours, and 92 suspected of having COVID-19 had been admitted in that time, with 94 percent of hospitals reporting. Hospitals in the region had 70 adult patients in ICUs.

Albemarle continues to lead the county with around 809 cases and 43 deaths, followed by New London with 435 cases and three deaths, Norwood with roughly 128 cases and three deaths, and Locust and Oakboro both with 99 cases, according to data from NCDHHS.

Statewide, there have been more than 2.6 million tests conducted resulting in 185,781 cases. A total of 895 people are hospitalized, while 3,060 people have died.

Drive-in COVID-19 testing is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Stanly County Commons. To be eligible for a test, a person must have had contact with someone who tested positive, interacted in a large group or exhibits coronavirus symptoms, according to the health department.

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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