Active cases fall below 500 but hospitalizations on the rise

Published 8:59 am Tuesday, December 29, 2020

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As of Monday, Stanly County has 499 active coronavirus cases, according to the health department. That represents 12 percent of the county’s total cases since March which is 4,238. It’s a decrease from this time a week ago, when active cases (around 940) accounted for about 24 percent of all coronavirus cases.

The active cases total for Monday marked the first time the county has been below the 500 threshold since Dec. 8, when there were 498 active cases.

A total of 89 people have died, same as last week, while 3,650 people who had the virus have recovered. Four people have been reinfected. More than 26,000 residents have been tested.

Stanly’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate is at 11.3 percent, well below the state’s overall average of 14.7 percent.

While active cases have decreased, hospitalizations have been on the rise. There are 27 people hospitalized, up from 12 who were hospitalized this time a week ago. 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.

Atrium Health Stanly is currently at 89 percent capacity in terms of available ICU beds, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Resources. The hospital’s capacity is higher than the state’s average of ICU beds, which is 83 percent. When last updated Monday, the Times showed Atrium Stanly has 20 COVID-19 patients with one ICU bed available.

Even with shipments of vaccines being distributed across the country each week, with 24 people in Stanly having already received the first dose, many health officials predict the coming weeks will be bad, with spikes in cases and hospitalizations occurring as a result of holiday gatherings.

“January will be grim,” said Albemarle physician Jenny Hinson. “This is the time to double our efforts to save lives. I implore all of us to avoid indoor gatherings for the next several weeks.”

There are six outbreaks in Stanly, down from nine last week, 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, which had five active cases last week, had none as of Monday, though 431 inmates have tested positive since March.

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

  • Albemarle (28001): 1,805 cases and 60 deaths;
  • New London (28127): 732 cases and six deaths;
  • Norwood (28128): 423 cases and five deaths;
  • Locust (28097): 391 cases and zero deaths;
  • Oakboro (28129): 295 cases and four deaths;
  • Stanfield (28163): 252 cases and one death;
  • Richfield (28137): 182 cases and one death;
  • Badin (28009): No information for the town

Statewide, there are has more than 520,716 total cases. A record 3,102 people are hospitalized, almost double the number of people hospitalized at the same time last month, while 6,561 people have died.

Across the country there have been roughly 20 million cases with more than 330,000 deaths.

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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