Home Local News Richmond County surpasses 12,000 total cases; 5 new COVID-related deaths reported

Richmond County surpasses 12,000 total cases; 5 new COVID-related deaths reported

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County has surpassed the 12,000-case threshold in the COVID-19 pandemic and five additional deaths have been reported in the past four days.

The Richmond County Health Department reported on Monday that the case total, since the first was reported in April of 2020, has risen to 12,068 — meaning 240 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus since Feb. 3.

Of the total, 4,106 (34%) have been within the past five weeks, which saw a dramatic surge that health officials blame on the Omicron variant.

However, recent lower numbers may not include those who are opting for testing at home.

Health Director Cheryl Speight said some positive results from home testing kits have been reported, “but it is up to the individual to inform us, therefore it’s hard to know how many we don’t get.”

Positive cases among students have dropped considerably, with Richmond County Schools’ COVID Tracker showing only 31 since Feb. 1.

On Monday, there were six new cases in three schools: three at L.J. Bell Elementary; two at Richmond Senior High; and one at Fairview Heights Elementary.

The total number of student cases for the school year now stands at 1,313.

No cases were reported among staff on Monday and that total now stands at 301.

The county’s positivity rate, which had dropped as low as 23%, was at 25.8% on Monday, which is higher than the state’s average of 19.3%, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Statewide daily cases dropped to 4,727 on Monday, the first time numbers have been below 5,000 in more than a month, according to NCDHHS. For much of January, North Carolina was seeing between 17,000 and 35,000 cases each day.

COVID-related hospitalizations, while still higher than before the surge, continue to dwindle.

NCDHHS reported there were 4,032 on Sunday, the fewest since Jan. 10.

The local numbers are also lower, with FirstHealth reporting Monday that 89 (down from 105 on Feb. 3) of its 412 patients (21.6%) were COVID-positive. Scotland Memorial Hospital last updated its census on Feb. 4, when there were 19 patients isolated.

The number of COVID-related deaths in Richmond County has now reached 184, with the Health Department reporting one on Friday and four on Monday.

The Health Department stopped reporting statistical information last month.

There have now been six COVID-related deaths in the month of February and 25 in 2022. The county’s first COVID-related death was reported in April of 2020, soon after the first positive cases.

North Carolina’s COVID-related death total is now at 20,757, an increase of 492 since Jan. 31.

When compared to the other five counties with similar populations (43,000-48,000) Richmond still ranks the highest. Records with NCDHHS show the following death totals:

  • Vance – 111 (+1)
  • Beaufort – 143 (+0) 
  • McDowell – 142 (+0)
  • Stokes – 148 (+6)
  • Jackson – 83 (+2)

(Additions in parentheses are since Jan. 31. State records may not reflect county records, as Richmond is only shown to have 171. During the same time period, Richmond has had six.)

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Neighboring Scotland County, which has about 10,000 fewer residents than Richmond, has had 166 COVID-related deaths as of Feb. 4.

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.

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, 21,088 Richmond County residents (47%) are considered fully vaccinated and 8,569 have received booster shots.

 

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