Home Local News Richmond County averging 350 COVID tests per day; 281 cases reported Monday

Richmond County averging 350 COVID tests per day; 281 cases reported Monday

RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM— The Richmond County Health Department has performed an average of 350 COVID tests per day so far this month, with nearly 1,000 people testing positive.

That number, according to Health Director Cheryl Speight, did not include those on Monday.

When the daily numbers were released Monday afternoon, the Health Department reported 281 new cases, following 101 on Friday. Since Dec. 31, 956 residents have tested positive.

Speight said 29% of those being tested are positive for COVID-19.

Richmond County Schools’ COVID Tracker showed nearly 80 new cases among staff and students on Monday.

According to the tracker, 62 students from 12 of the district’s 15 schools tested positive:

  • 20 – Richmond Senior High School
  • 8 – Ninth Grade Academy
  • 7 – Washington Street Elementary
  • 5 – Fairview Heights, L.J. Bell Elementary
  • 4 – Monroe Avenue Elementary
  • 3 – East Rockingham Elementary, Hamlet Middle, Richmond Early College High School
  • 2 – Rockingham Middle
  • 1 – Cordova Middle, Ashley Chapel Educational Center

There are also 17 new cases among district staff: three at Richmond Senior; two each at East Rockingham, Fairview Heights and Washington Street; and one each at L.J. Bell, Monroe Avenue, West Rockingham, Hamlet Middle, Rockingham Middle, Ashley Chapel, NGA and Central Services.

Only the two schools in Ellerbe, Mineral Springs Elementary and Ellerbe Middle, had no student or staff cases on Monday.

Since the school year began in August, there have been 642 student cases and 155 staff cases. Richmond Senior tops both lists with 160 and 21, respectively.

The Health Department announced on Facebook Monday morning that it was delaying drive-thru testing until later in the day, and said on Friday that rapid testing would not be available at all this week, only PCR testing.

“Rapid tests are out significantly across the state because of supply and demand,” Speight told the RO. The other testing site at Cole Auditorium hasn’t been performing rapid testing due to storage issues, she added.

Speight also told the RO that there are currently no plans to add more testing sites.

“The state supplies this testing for us and fortunately we were able to add the Cole but staffing for other state sites is limited, therefore the two sites we have now are the limit for our size county,” she said.

Cases have skyrocketed within the past month across the state, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting a new record high of 29,069 new cases on Saturday — up from the low of 1,932 on Dec. 14. On Monday, that number was 18,254.

More than 176,000 new cases have been reported by NCDHHS since Jan. 1, with no fewer than 10,000 each day.

Prior to the recent spike, cases had dwindled over the past several months.

Speight said the Health Department has no figures for the possible number of reinfections or breakthrough cases.

“With the volume of positives coming through the system, that information is not being captured at this time,” she said.

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In addition to rising case numbers, COVID-related hospitalizations have also increased sharply since late December.

NCDHHS reports there were 3,850 state residents hospitalized on Sunday — more than twice the number on Christmas Day.

FirstHealth reported on Monday that 107 of its 418 patients (25.6%) were COVID-positive, and Scotland Memorial Hospital had 22 patients isolated.

The Health Department also reported a new COVID-related death on Monday.

According to the Health Department, 20,769 county residents have been vaccinated.

COVID vaccinations and boosters are available at the Health Department from 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Monday-Thursday 8-5, and 8-11 a.m. on Fridays with no appointment needed.

Vaccinations have been authorized for children as young as five and boosters for those as young as 12.

 

 

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