Weekly new Covid cases decrease for first time in months

Since at least the beginning of July, when the delta variant was first detected in Stanly County, the health department has been releasing weekly totals of new cases.

With cases increasing rapidly in the county, each successive week revealed a higher caseload than the week prior. There were only 12 reported cases for the week of July 2, for example, but by the end of the month, the weekly total ballooned to 124. The steady accumulation of new cases continued throughout August and into September.

But the trend appears to have been at least temporarily broken for the week of Sept. 10. The health department reported 367 new cases, a 10 percent decrease compared to the 409 cases reported the week prior.

In addition to cases, the county's percent positive rate, which is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, fell from 16.6 percent on Sept. 3 to 14.5 percent as of Friday. Still, the percentage is much higher than earlier in the summer.

Stanly County Health director David Jenkins cautioned that with such a small sample size, last week's data cannot be extrapolated to form any projections about the future. Cases have decreased in the past just to spike up again a short time later.

Jenkins said COVID cases in southern states like North Carolina are peaking and that the state "is still in an acceleration phase of this wave."

While the county saw a drop in new cases, five new deaths were recorded over the past week bringing the total to 162. The number of people hospitalized is 35.

Since the beginning of the pandemic last spring, there have been 9,921 cumulative cases, according to health department data.