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Stanly sees first cases of coronavirus reinfections as county approaches 3,000

As Stanly County approaches 3,000 coronavirus cases, the health department reported on Wednesday the county’s first cases of reinfections.

There have been two confirmed cases of people getting reinfected with the virus. According to the health department, reinfection means that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 again at least 12 weeks after their first infection.

The county has 2,942 cumulative cases, with 10 people hospitalized and 80 people having died as a result of the coronavirus, according to data from the county health department released Wednesday evening. There are 200 active cases and 2,662 people who had the virus have recovered. Almost 20,000 residents have been tested while there have been more than 39,600 tests (positive, negative, retests).

Stanly’s positivity rate, which is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, is at 8.2 percent, above the state’s average of 7.3 percent.

After rolling out North Carolina’s color-coded county alert map last week to identity the state’s hotspots, Stanly is still yellow, which means “significant community spread.” Montgomery County, which has a positivity rate of 12 percent, moved from orange to the highest level of red which signifies “critical community spread.” Rowan and Cabarrus counties are both orange.

The health department recorded five outbreaks as of Wednesday: Albemarle Correctional Institution with 419 cumulative cases, including 21 which are currently active; Stanly Manor with 75 cases and six deaths; Bethany Woods with 40 cases; Spring Arbor with 27 cases; and Premier Services of the Carolinas with three cases. The number of cases and deaths come from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Statewide, there have been more than 5 million tests conducted in the state resulting in 346,506 cases as of Friday, according to DHHS. A total of 1,811 people are hospitalized, while 5,138 people have died. On Nov. 22, the state recorded 4,514 new cases, the most since the pandemic began in March.

The demographics continue to stay relatively constant in Stanly, with people ages 25 to 49 being the group most likely to contract the virus (40 percent of all cases) followed by those ages 50 to 64 (24 percent). Children younger than 17 and those ages 18-24 account for 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

White people account for the majority of cases in Stanly at 68 percent followed by Black people with 15 percent of cases, according to data from the health department. Race listed as “unknown” accounts for 15 percent of cases, while those with Hispanic ethnicity make up 8 percent of cases.

Of the total number of cases in the county, about 24 percent have come from people living in congregate living facilities.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s new executive order aimed at strengthening mask-wearing went into effect Wednesday. Under the new rules, masks must be worn inside any public setting with non-household members (including in gyms while exercising), even when 6 feet apart. Gatherings remain limited to 10 people indoors unless they are part of the same household, and 50 people for outdoor gatherings.

The executive order requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.

“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Cooper said at a press conference Monday. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”

Although law enforcement officers may cite people for not wearing masks, Sheriff Jeff Crisco said he and his deputies would first educate people and let them know about the importance of mask wearing.

“Enforcement (of the executive order) would be a last resort,” he said.

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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