ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County remains at medium community risk level as local COVID-19 cases appear to be slowly rising again.
The Richmond County Health Department on Wednesday reported an increase of 127 new cases from the previous week, bringing the 26-month total to 13,574.
There have been 399 new cases in June. There were only 346 reported from April 27-June 1.
The most recent case average is 18 per day, compared to an average of 13 per day from June 1-22.
The Health Department also reported one additional COVID-related death this week. This brings the overall total to 195. Thirty-six of those have been this year.
In its weekly situation update, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports that there has been a slight increase in reported cases statewide, as well as a slight decrease in hospital admissions.
Eleven of North Carolina’s 100 counties are considered to be at a high risk level.
Among other counties with a similar population, Richmond ranks higher than most. However, Davie — one of the high-risk counties — has seen more cases in the past two weeks.
The state COVID Dashboard shows a reinfection rate of 12.6%.
County Health Director Cheryl Speight says with the state no longer giving daily numbers and the increase in home testing, there is no way of knowing the local reinfection rate.
“They still give a positivity rate but it is not accurate with all the home tests being done,” Speight said in an email Wednesday, adding that NCDHHS is wanting to move toward home testing and away from mass screenings.
Richmond County’s vaccination rate has also slightly increased to 49% — the first percentage increase since March 16. According to NCDHHS statistics, 10,297 residents (23%) have been vaccinated with at least one booster.
Even so, Speight says the Health Department is seeing cases involving individuals who are vaccinated and boostered.
Looking at the same counties as before, Davie has the highest percentage of those vaccinated with at least one booster while Richmond has the lowest.
There have been several such high-profile cases, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Roy Cooper.
According to a press release from the National Institutes for Health, Fauci is fully vaccinated and has received two boosters.
Several media outlets reported Wednesday that Fauci, who announced his diagnosis on June 15, is seeing a rebound of symptoms after being treated with Paxlovid, manufactured by Pfizer, which also makes one of the authorized vaccines.
Like Fauci, the governor has had two boosters and announced his infection on June 20. Cooper, according to a press release, was also taking Paxlovid.
The Health Department no longer conducts in-depth interviews with every patient. However, Speight said those who have spoken with department staff have said that their symptoms aren’t severe.
Cooper credited the vaccine for his mild symptoms.
A video public service announcement released Tuesday shows Sesame Street character Elmo not long after getting a COVID vaccine with his father.
The PSA was a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the CDC, the National Ad Council, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The CDC earlier this month recommended vaccines for children as young as six months old.
As of the last time the Richmond County Schools COVID Tracker was updated, 1,447 students had tested positive for the school year, as had 360 staff members.