Stanly sees resurgence in Covid cases

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise over the past few weeks.

On Friday, the Stanly County Health Department reported a 30 percent increase in Covid cases over the past week. A total of 262 new cases were identified, up from 201 last week, which had been the highest total since the week of Feb. 11, when 268 new cases were reported. By comparison, the county had a little more than 50 new cases total during April.

After several months of mostly low Covid community levels, where it was labeled green by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stanly as of Friday is now orange, which means high Covid levels.

“That one caught us by surprise because we went straight from green to orange just like overnight,” said Stanly County Health Director David Jenkins.

More than half the state is also in the same category, including most neighboring counties such as Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Rowan and Union, according to the most updated data from the CDC.

According to a health department press release sent out last week, hospitalizations from Covid have also been increasing.

People infected with BA.5 subvariant of Covid, which is now predominant in the country, may develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and muscle pains. However, they are less likely to lose their senses of taste and smell, or to experience shortness of breath, as compared with those infected with Delta or other variants of the coronavirus.

Jenkins has heard stories of people getting reinfected shortly after their initial positive test.

Like with the other variants, the best way for people to protect themselves is to get fully vaccinated, which includes getting a booster shot, he said.

Jenkins said a steady stream of people continue to come to the health department each week to receive vaccinations, noting that since June 20, 194 people have received vaccinations.

Even though Covid shots have been available to the public for about a year and a half now, slightly less than half of the total population has taken advantage. Of people 5 and older, only 51 percent have received at least one shot according to state data, while 48 percent have completed both doses. Additionally, only about 27 percent of people have received the booster shot.

Children 6 months to 5 years became eligible for vaccinations last month, but few in Stanly have received the shots. Per state data, only 24 people ages 0-4 have received at least one dose, about one percent of the total population.

“People know what the risks are of getting vaccinated, which are very low, versus the risk of getting Covid, which is really an unknown until you contract it,” Jenkins said, noting if fully vaccinated people contract the virus they usually have mild symptoms.

“Vaccines still provide the best protection against this virus even compared to being infected,” Jenkins added.

The free OptumServe testing sites at the Stanly County Commons parking lot and Stanly Community College Crutchfield Center in Locust, which have been available for more than a year, have closed, Jenkins said. Anyone in need of tests, can come to the health department and receive free at-home test kits.

The department’s Covid vaccine clinic is open Monday through Wednesday as follows:

  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday — Moderna shots for children 6 months to 11 years and Pfizer shots for children 5-11;
  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday — Moderna shots for anyone 12 and up; and
  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday — Pfizer shots for anyone 12 and up.