As cases increase across state, Stanly surpasses 2,600
As cases continue to increase throughout the country, especially in rural counties, Stanly recently surpassed 2,600 cumulative coronavirus cases.
With an additional 45 cases reported on Thursday, according to data from the county health department, the county has 2,670 cumulative cases, with nine people hospitalized and 78 people having died as a result of the coronavirus. There are 143 active cases and 2,670 people who had the virus have recovered. More than 18,200 tests have been administered.
According to data released this week by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, since September, nearly twice as many new COVID-19 cases have been reported in rural counties compared to urban and suburban counties. Deaths related to the virus have also significantly increased in rural counties and now account for the majority of deaths statewide compared with deaths in urban and suburban counties. The data also found that the majority of COVID-19 cases in rural communities have been in people 49 years and younger.
The DHHS data classified 80 counties, including Stanly, as being rural, while 14 were suburban and six were urban.
Stanly’s positivity rate, which is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, spiked to 5.8 percent Thursday after it had fallen to around 4 percent earlier in the week, according to DHHS data. Stanly’s rate is still lower than most neighboring counties and is two percentage points lower than the state average. Johns Hopkins University, however, notes that the percent positive in a community is considered “too high” if it’s more than 5 percent.
Outbreaks in Stanly have also steadily decreased from a high of 10 in the summer to now four, according to DHHS data. The largest is still at the Albemarle Correctional Institution, where 398 inmates have tested positive since March. There are 17 active cases and three inmates have died. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases.
The other outbreaks in the county include Stanly Manor with 75 cases and six deaths, Bethany Woods with 40 cases and The Taylor House with 18 cases and two deaths.
Across the state, case numbers continue to increase. DHHS reported 3,119 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the state’s highest one-day number of cases since the pandemic started in March.
There have been almost 4.5 million tests conducted in the state resulting in 303,454 cases. A total of 1,279 people are currently hospitalized, while 4,706 people have died.
With cases continuing to increase and with more people spending time inside as the weather gets colder, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that the state’s indoor mass gathering limit will be lowered to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics. It will be in place through Dec. 4.
“This reduction in our indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers,” Cooper said. “It also sends a serious signal to families, friends and neighbors across our state. Success in slowing the spread will help our businesses.”
NCDHHS also released new guidance urging caution when gathering with family or friends for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holiday celebrations. The department also discourages people from waiting in large groups for traditional Black Friday shopping.
“The best way to protect loved ones during Thanksgiving is to limit travel and gatherings with anyone who does not live in your household,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen. “If you do plan to get together, there are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to your family and friends.”
NCDHHS encourages people who plan to travel for the holidays to consider having a COVID-19 screening test three to four days ahead of time. A screening test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not have symptoms.
“Consider getting a screening test ahead of your Thanksgiving travel or gathering. If you test positive, stay home and isolate. If you test negative, it’s not a free pass. Wear a mask and practice all three W’s, including keeping 6 feet of distance from others and washing hand often,” Cohen said.
DHHS also listed various upcoming holiday activities by degrees of risk.
Lower risk activities include having dinner with only people living in your household, having a virtual dinner and watching sports, parades and movies from home.
Moderate risk activities include having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends, attending a small sports event with safety precautions in place, attending a reverse parade, where spectators remain in their car and drive by floats or performers and visiting pumpkin patch with safety precautions in place.
Higher risk activities include attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household, attending parades and participating or being a spectator at a crowded race.
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