Stanly nears 800 active cases while local ICU bed capacity is full

Published 9:45 am Friday, December 18, 2020

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With an additional 47 new cases, Stanly County had 786 active cases as of Thursday evening, according to the health department, its highest one-day total since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It’s a 142 percent increase from just two weeks ago when there were 325 active cases.

The county also added two new deaths Thursday, bringing its total to 89.

Stanly has 3,791 cumulative cases, 21 percent of which are currently active. A total of 2,919 individuals who had the virus have recovered while roughly 23,000 residents have been tested.

Four people have been reinfected, which means they have tested positive for COVID-19 again at least 12 weeks after their first infection.

Stanly’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate is at 12.6 percent, which is higher than the overall state average of 11.7 percent.

There are also currently 16 people hospitalized. The total accounts for Stanly County patients hospitalized anywhere in the region, not just at Atrium Health Stanly. If people are really sick or need to be intubated, they often will be transported to hospitals in Concord or Charlotte.

According to a New York Times article published this week analyzing ICU hospital bed capacity across the country, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health Stanly is at 97 percent capacity with no available beds. The hospital has a total of 10 ICU beds. Across North Carolina, 82 percent of ICU beds are full.

There are nine outbreaks in Stanly, according to the health department, though it doesn’t list specific locations. The state Department of Health and Human Services, which tracks outbreaks, has six in the county: Stanly Manor, Bethany Woods, Trinity Place, Forrest Oaks, Premier Services of the Carolinas and Spring Arbor. Albemarle Correctional Institution has five active cases for a total of 431 cases since March.

In anticipation of a surge of new cases following the Christmas holiday, the school board voted Wednesday for a delayed return to face-to-face instruction. While it will not affect the rest of the current semester, virtual instruction will take place Jan. 7 through Jan. 14. Students may return to school on Jan. 19.

According to data shared with the board by Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis, 179 students and 86 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-July. Additionally, 505 students and 94 employees were currently in quarantine.

Below is a breakdown of the number of cases and deaths by municipality in Stanly, according to zip code data from DHHS:

  • Albemarle (28001): 1,625 cases and 60 deaths;
  • New London (28127): 685 cases and six deaths;
  • Norwood (28128): 376 cases and five deaths;
  • Locust (28097): 336 cases and zero deaths;
  • Oakboro (28129): 250 cases and four deaths;
  • Stanfield (28163): 205 cases and one death;
  • Richfield (28137): 156 cases and one death;
  • Badin (28009): No information for the town.

Statewide, at least 5,786 new cases were reported on Thursday. The state has more than 457,660 total cases. There are 2,804 people hospitalized, almost double the number of people hospitalized at the same time last month and 6,065 North Carolinians have died.

In a COVID-19 risk map developed by Harvard University researchers, all but three counties in the state are red, which signifies they have reached a “tipping point” and need to take action.

The map tracks the severity of the coronavirus pandemic by state and county according to the seven-day moving average of new cases per 100,000 people. Stanly, which has 65.3 new cases per 100,000 people, is firmly in the red. Only Clay, Chatham and Terrell counties are orange, one notch below red and which signifies “accelerated spread.”

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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