ROCKINGHAM — Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday extended his modified stay-at-home order for another month.
The extension ordering North Carolina residents to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. will now last until Feb. 28.
Cooper set the curfew in early December, requiring most businesses to close by 10 p.m. and alcohol sales to halt at 9 p.m., when nearly half of the state’s 100 counties were considered to have critical spread of the coronavirus.
The most recent County Alert System report, issued Jan. 21, shows 89 counties — including Richmond — in the red.
“With more than 3,300 people in the hospital, and the percent of positive tests in double digits, we know this virus is still spreading,” said Cooper. “And with at least one new contagious variant of COVID-19 in our state, we still have work to do. We cannot let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months.”
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services records show COVID-related hospitalizations have been on a downward trend after peaking at 3,992 on Jan. 13.
There were 3,305 statewide hospitalizations on Tuesday and there are currently 20 Richmond County residents hospitalized.
FirstHealth reports that 82 of its 385 patients (21.3%) are COVID-positive and Scotland Memorial Hospital has 39 isolated patients.
Statewide cases have also been lower in the past week than they have been all month, according to DHHS.
After dropping to a monthly low of 3,878 on Tuesday, the daily count rose to 5,587 on Wednesday. Daily cases have remained below 7,500 since Jan. 17.
Richmond County’s active COVID-19 case count rose above 400 again on Wednesday.
The Richmond County Health Department reported 29 additional residents tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of active cases to 404.
Tuesday was the only reporting day since Jan. 6 that active cases have been below 400, hitting a record high of 504 on Jan. 14.
Richmond County Schools reported on Wednesday that three virtual students — two at the Ninth Grade Academy and one at Richmond Senior — and two staff members of Rockingham Middle have tested positive.
Tuesday, the Richmond County Board of Education voted 5-2 to allow students to return to the classroom on Feb. 1.
Since the district began monitoring in late August of 2020, cases among virtual students have outnumbered those of traditional students 203 to 49.
According to the Health Department, 23 more residents have been added to the recovered list since Tuesday afternoon.
January has set record highs in the county for the number of cases (857) and COVID-related deaths (17), with the latest being reported Tuesday morning.
There have been 70 total COVID-related deaths in Richmond County and 8,915 statewide.
In addition to extending the stay-at-home order, Cooper also extended the orders allowing alcoholic beverages to-go and setting a moratorium on evictions.
On Jan. 20, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky extended the nationwide eviction moratorium until at least the end of March.
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen’s “secretarial directive” issued Jan. 6 is also still in place. The non-binding directive urges North Carolinians to stay home except for essential activities.
“Remember people can have COVID-19 and not know it,” Cohen said. The best way to protect those around you is to act as if you do have the virus and could be contagious. That means always wearing a mask – over your mouth and nose, always waiting apart from others, and always washing your hands frequently.”
According to the governor’s office, supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine across the state are low and President Joe Biden’s administration has “committed” to increase shipments to the states by 16% over the next three weeks.
Last week, FirstHealth and the Health Department announced that it would have to curb vaccinations after only receiving 400 of the requested 1,200 doses.
The state only had 120,000 doses Wednesday, many of which were committed to large-scale vaccination events.
DHHS reports that more than 97,000 residents have received both doses of the vaccine. In Richmond County, 2,910 people have been given the first dose, but only 132 have been administered the second dose.
The Health Department announced that the free drive-thru testing site behind the building will have modified hours for the next two days, starting at 11 a.m. Thursday and noon on Friday, before resuming a regular schedule on Saturday at 10 a.m. Testing runs through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
There will also be free rapid testing at the Dobbins Heights Community Center Jan. 31.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of local cases per age group are as follows (includes recoveries):
- 0-18 – 538 (+4)
- 19-30 – 569 (+4)
- 31-40 – 472 (+6)
- 41-50 – 602 (+5)
- 51-64 – 742 (+5)
- 65-older – 636 (+5)
(+ Denotes increase from the previous report.)
The number of active cases per ZIP code are as follows:
- Rockingham – 224
- Hamlet – 127
- Ellerbe – 42
- Hoffman – 4
- Marston – 7
The number of new cases for the past 14 days, according to DHHS, for surrounding counties are as follows:
- Mecklenburg -10,339
- Union – 2,378
- Stanly – 693
- Montgomery – 352
- Anson – 276
- Moore – 1,027 (currently 790 active*)
- Hoke – 394
- Scotland – 262
- Robeson – 1,576
(* Active cases from Moore County Health Dept.)