Thursday, 12 November 2020 17:52

Richmond County reports 26 new coronavirus cases; state report says virus spreading in rural counties

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Richmond County reports 26 new coronavirus cases; state report says virus spreading in rural counties Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Health Department on Thursday reported as many new COVID-19 cases as the previous two days combined.

When the daily update was released, the Health Department reported 26 new cases, seven of which were patients 18 years old or younger.

That makes 52 cases in three days and 72 since Saturday.

Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell said he is not yet sure if the cases have a common link.

There are currently 125 active cases, with seven patients hospitalized and 118 under home isolation.

Earlier in the day, the Health Department also reported the 38th COVID-related death.

Of the county’s 1,585 total cases, 1,422 are listed as recovered. The county has also recorded 15,403 negative test results.

Richmond County Schools reported that three virtual students — one each from Hamlet Middle, Rockingham Middle and Richmond Senior High School — tested positive.

The district reported on Wednesday that one virtual student from the high school and a staff member of Monroe Avenue tested positive. Earlier in the week, two traditional students from Monroe Avenue and two virtual students — from Hamlet Middle and the high school —  had contracted the coronavirus.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported the third-highest one-day total with 2,893 new cases. A new record was set Wednesday when DHHS reported more than 3,000 new cases.

DHHS also reported that rural counties have seen a faster increase in cases in the past two months.

“It’s particularly worrisome to see high rates of COVID spread in our rural counties as healthcare can be harder to access,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. “Most rural hospitals are small, and some are already feeling stretched to their capacity limits.”

State health officials say a recent report found that:

  • Nearly twice as many new cases have been reported from rural counties compared to urban or suburban counties.
  • The majority of cases in rural counties are increasingly white, non-Hispanic as compared with previous months. 
  • COVID-19 related deaths in rural counties also increased significantly, and account for the majority of deaths statewide compared with deaths in urban and suburban counties. 
  • Among deaths in rural counties, deaths among white, non-Hispanic and Black/African American cases have increased over time.
  • The majority of COVID-19 cases in rural communities are in people 49 years and younger.
  • The increase is being driven by community spread, not congregate living settings like nursing homes or jails.

(See the report as an attachment to this post.)

During October, 401 cases were reported in Richmond County — 43 more than the total reported in September. There were also 15 COVID-related deaths reported in October.

Free testing COVID testing began Monday in the parking lot behind the Human Services Complex on Caroline Street. Testing will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through the rest of the month, except for Thanksgiving Day and the day after, according to a press release issued Friday afternoon.

Jarrell said both the COVID-testing clinic and flu shot clinic were cut short Thursday because of the torrential rain.


The number of local cases per age group are as follows (includes recoveries):

  • 0-18 - 223
  • 19-30 - 270
  • 31-40 - 207
  • 41-50 - 275
  • 50-64 - 334
  • 65-older - 276

The total number of cases per ZIP code are as follows:

  • Rockingham - 825 (69 active)
  • Hamlet - 449 (37 active)
  • Ellerbe - 142 (14 active)
  • Hoffman - 148 (4 active, including 1 at Morrison CI)
  • Mount Gilead - 10 (0 active)
  • Marston - 10 (1 active)
  • Jackson Springs - 1 (0 active)

More than 60 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 (134), Camden (153), Gates (183) and Hyde (179). All four are among the state’s 10 least populated counties.

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

  • Mecklenburg -37,399 (other counties to top 10,000 are Wake, Guilford, Forsyth and Durham)
  • Union - 6,625
  • Stanly - 2,614
  • Montgomery - 1,262
  • Anson - 793
  • Moore - 2,481 (144 active, 59 deaths)
  • Hoke - 1,717
  • Scotland - 1,745
  • Robeson - 6,618

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 1,601 total cases and 51 deaths in Chesterfield County and 1,243 cases and 15 deaths in Marlboro County.