ROCKINGHAM — For the first time in a while, Richmond County’s rate of positive cases is below the state average.
The Richmond County Health Department reported Friday that the local positivity rate was 15% — slightly lower than the 15.4% shown by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Just two days ago, the county’s rate was nearly 7% higher than the state’s. From Jan. 14-31, the local rate was around 35% daily.
Richmond County has averaged fewer than 50 COVID cases per day, a sign that the Omicron surge continues to die down.
The pandemic total, according to the Richmond County Health Department, now stands at 12,280.
There have been 212 cases reported this week, including 30 on Thursday and 47 on Friday. The numbers are down considerably since January. Thirty-five percent of the county’s cases, since the first was reported in April of 2020, have been this year.
It is not known how many recent breakthrough cases — involving those considered fully vaccinated — there have been, or how many people have tested positive more than once.
Richmond County Schools reported only three cases on Friday, all involving staff members — one each at Monroe Avenue and Washington Street elementary and Rockingham Middle.
The RCS COVID Tracker shows a total of 312 staff related cases — an increase of four since Wednesday — since the school year began in August. It also shows 1331 student cases, which indicates six were reported Thursday.
Statewide COVID numbers have remained relatively low this week, compared to last month with 7,539 on Friday and only one day topping the 10,000-case mark, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Health Department also reported a new COVID-related death on Thursday, bringing the total to 186. That makes eight deaths for the month of February and 27 for 2022.
The first local death was reported the same week as the first positive cases in April of 2020.
NCDHHS reports there have been 21,665 such deaths statewide.
Among counties with similar populations, Richmond County has had the most, followed by Stokes and McDowell counties, which have each had 150, according to NCDHHS.
(Note: State records may not reflect county records, as Richmond is only shown to have 180.)
The federal government last month began taking orders for at-home kits at covidtests.gov. Each family is eligible for four free kits.
Free drive-thru COVID testing is available Monday-Friday behind the Health Department from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and the parking lot of Cole Auditorium in Hamlet from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., as well as from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays at both locations.
The Health Department announced earlier this week that rapid tests are back.
Vaccines and boosters are available for those who want them at the Health Department from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8-11 a.m. on Fridays.
Vaccines have been authorized for adults and children as young as 5 years old.
According to NCDHHS, 21,131 Richmond County residents (47%) are considered fully vaccinated and 8,669 have received booster shots.