Stanly smashes weekly record with almost 900 Covid cases

With Stanly County in the thick of yet another COVID-19 surge, this time caused by the omicron variant, new cases for this week exploded to the highest total since the pandemic first began two years ago.

The Stanly County Health Department has reported at least 888 cases this week, more than double last week’s 305 new cases and the highest caseload on record. The previous high occurred the first week of 2021 with more than 450 cases.

“We are not surprised at the high numbers for two reasons,” said Wendy Growcock, public health education specialist with the health department. “The first being the post-holiday surge, during this time last year Stanly County had some of its highest weekly case counts. The second reason is our attention to how the omicron variant has affected other countries.”

About 18 percent of the total cases this week have come from young children ages 0 to 17.

There are almost 1,100 active cases within the county, about a 97 percent increase from the previous week, when there were 550 active cases, according to data from the Stanly County Government Facebook page.

With the increase in new cases comes the rapid uptick in the county's percent positivity rate, which now stands at almost 22 percent, up from about 10 percent a month ago.

There have also been a deluge of new cases across the state. More than 28,000 cases were reported on Friday, according to data from the state Health and Human Services Department, the most of any day on record during the pandemic. This time a month ago, there were only about 2,100 cases.

Growcock said 40 percent of North Carolina cases were attributed to omicron during the Christmas week.

Hospitalizations in the county have also risen, though nowhere near as sharply as the cases. There have been 24 people in the hospital this week due to Covid, up from 15 at the end of last week.

Almost 3,500 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state Thursday, a 152 percent increase from a month ago,and the most since mid-September.

There have been four deaths so far this month, bringing the cumulative total to 226. Of the total, more than one-third of the deaths have occurred since July. Stanly has 342 deaths per 100,000 people, one of the higher rates in the state.

"The health department continues to recommend mask wearing whenever individuals are in public places or are with others who are not members of their own household," Growcock said. "Even people who have been vaccinated and received their booster dose should be masking during this surge."

Stanly now has 43 percent of its residents fully vaccinated, up from 42 percent last week, though it's still one of the lower rates in the state.