Wednesday, 28 October 2020 16:59

21 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County; Cohen says religious gatherings account for part of statewide spike

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21 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County; Cohen says religious gatherings account for part of statewide spike Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — After two days of reporting lower new COVID-19 cases, the Richmond County Health Department on Wednesday reported 21 new cases.

According to the Health Department, there were 139 active cases, with 131 under home isolation and eight hospitalized.

Earlier in the day, local health officials announced the 32nd COVID-related death, which was the 13th in October. There were seven deaths reported during the month of September.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in its Tuesday update to its Ongoing Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings report, showed there have been a total of 61 cases at The Hermitage Retirement Center, including 46 residents and 15 staff members. Five of those residents have died.

The report also shows three cases among staff members at PruittHealth-Rockingham.

Morrison Correctional Institution, which had been another site of an outbreak, had only two active cases on Wednesday, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Richmond County Schools has reported three new cases this week: a worker in the central office over the weekend; and one virtual student at Rockingham Middle and one staff member at Washington Street Elementary on Tuesday.

In the DHHS report on ongoing clusters in child care or school settings, there were three cases each among staff and students listed for Fairview Heights Elementary.

That school was shut down for two weeks after a cluster was identified earlier in the month.

Richmond County has now seen 1,424 positive cases since the first was reported in early April and 1,253 recoveries. Of all tests completed, 13,327 have returned a negative result.

During a press conference Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is seeing an increase in cases in rural areas across North Carolina.

She added that many of the new cases are coming from informal social gatherings and religious settings.

A report on clusters updated Oct. 26 shows religious gatherings make up the majority of case clusters among community events.

The report shows 1,180 cases among 88 clusters resulting in 18 deaths.

The only setting with a higher death toll has been in the meat and poultry processing industry, where there have been 19 deaths among 3,842 cases from 39 clusters.

When asked about the possibility of more restrictions, Gov. Roy Cooper said he plans to keep the state in the current Phase 3 and there are no plans on going backward.

“We want to go forward from here,” he said. “We want to have positive progress.”

DHHS reported 2,253 new cases across the state on Wednesday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 266,136. The state reported a new one-day high of 2,716 on Oct. 23.

An estimated 231,611 North Carolinians are estimated to have recovered.


The number of local cases per age group are as follows:

  • 0-18 - 187
  • 19-30 - 248
  • 31-40 - 185
  • 41-50 - 255
  • 50-64 - 297
  • 65-older - 252

The number of cases per ZIP code are as follows:

  • Rockingham - 732 (47 active)
  • Hamlet - 402 (34 active)
  • Ellerbe - 127 (4 active)
  • Hoffman - 143 (53 active)
  • Mount Gilead - 10 (0 active)
  • Marston - 9 (1 active)
  • Jackson Springs - 1 (0 active)

Sixty of the state’s 100 counties have now experienced more than 1,000 total cases.

Only four counties have had fewer than 200 cases, and they are all in the northeast corner of the state: Tyrrell (132), Camden (135), Gates (168) and Hyde (174). All four are among the state’s 10 least populated counties.

The total numbers (including recoveries) for surrounding counties are as follows:

  • Mecklenburg -33,779 (the only other counties to top 10,000 are Wake with 21,145 and Guilford with 11,376)
  • Union - 5,913
  • Stanly - 2,438
  • Montgomery - 1,190
  • Anson - 728
  • Moore - 2,266 (180 active, 43 deaths)
  • Hoke - 1,548
  • Scotland - 1,630
  • Robeson - 6,026

All numbers are from DHHS except Moore, which are from the local health department, as there has been a discrepancy with the state. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting 1,484 total cases and 46 deaths in Chesterfield County and 1,136 cases and 13 deaths in Marlboro County.