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Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:40

State classifies Richmond County as having 'substantial' community spread of COVID-19

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State classifies Richmond County as having 'substantial' community spread of COVID-19 NCDHHS

ROCKINGHAM  — Richmond is one of 43 North Carolina counties with substantial community spread of the coronavirus, state officials announced in a new designation system Tuesday.

During a press conference, Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services introduced the COVID-19 County Alert System to “pinpoint counties with the highest levels of viral spread and offer specific recommendations to bring numbers down.”

Counties are color-coded either red (critical), orange (substantial) or yellow (significant) based on the following criteria:

  • Case Rate: The number of new cases in 14 days per 100,000 people
  • Percent Positive: The percent of tests that are positive over 14 days 
  • Hospital Impact: A composite score based on the impact that COVID-19 has had on hospitals including percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, COVID-19 related visits to the Emergency Department, staffed open hospital beds, and critical staffing shortages over 14 days

According to FirstHealth, 31 of its 374 patients have COVID-19.

“By pinpointing counties with high virus transmission and asking everyone in those counties to work with us and do more right now to slow the spread of the virus, we can succeed,” Cooper said in a press release. “It can help bring down their case rates, keep their communities safer, save lives and keep their hospital systems working.”

Richmond County’s case rate over the past two weeks is 392.6 (195 new cases), with a test positivity rate of 8.4%, and a moderate hospital impact (seven people hospitalized as of Tuesday), according to DHHS.

Other nearby counties at the same level include Scotland, Moore, Montgomery and Robeson. Ten counties, including nearby Hoke, are considered to be critical.

Within the past week, new statewide cases have topped 3,000 on four days, including setting a new record-high of 3,885 on Nov. 14. The daily testing rate seems to be holding about the same.

The number of statewide hospitalizations also surpassed 1,500 for the first time on Tuesday.

“It’s going to take all of us working together to avoid tightening restrictions like so many states are now doing,” said Cohen. “The COVID-19 County Alert System gives North Carolinians an easy way to see how their county is doing and know what they can do (to) protect their family and neighbors and slow the spread of this virus.”

The Richmond County Health Department reported 22 new cases on Tuesday, making 74 since the weekend. There have been 226 new cases reported for the month of November.

There are currently 165 active cases, with 158 under home isolation and, as previously noted, seven patients hospitalized.

(Note: today’s graphic lists the number of active cases and home isolations at 158, but Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell confirmed the correct number with the RO.)

Richmond County Schools reported on Tuesday that four virtual students (Hamlet and Rockingham Middle, Ninth Grade Academy and Richmond Senior) have tested positive.

The number of COVID-positive students on Monday increased following the RO’s report, with a final total of eight virtual and five traditional students testing positive:

  • Virtual - three at Washington Street; one each at Fairview Heights, L.J. Bell, Rockingham Middle, Richmond Early College High School, Richmond Senior.
  • Traditional - one each at East Rockingham, L.J. Bell, Mineral Springs, Monroe Avenue and Washington Street.

Of the 52,872 tests completed by FirstHealth, 5,447 have been positive, 46,412 have been negative and 431 results are still pending.

On the county level, there have been 16,011 negative results, and 1,675 positive results since the pandemic began. The Health Department says 1,472 of those have recovered and 38 have died from COVID-related complications.

North Carolina has had 317,495 total cases (276,132 presumed to have recovered as of Monday) and 4,852 COVID-related deaths.

Free testing COVID testing began last week 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.


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

  • 0-18 - 249
  • 19-30 - 286
  • 31-40 - 218
  • 41-50 - 295
  • 50-64 - 345
  • 65-older - 282

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

  • Rockingham - 879 (95 active)
  • Hamlet - 476 (52 active)
  • Ellerbe - 149 (13 active)
  • Hoffman - 149 (3 active)
  • Mount Gilead - 10 (0 active)
  • Marston - 11 (2 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 (135), Camden (162), Gates (186) and Hyde (180). All four are among the state’s 10 least populated counties.

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

  • Mecklenburg -38,843 (other counties to top 10,000 are Wake, Guilford, Forsyth and Durham)
  • Union - 6,906
  • Stanly - 2,715
  • Montgomery - 1,295
  • Anson - 816
  • Moore - 2,582 (198 active, 59 deaths)
  • Hoke - 1,783
  • Scotland - 1,777
  • Robeson - 6,775

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 1,652 total cases and 52 deaths in Chesterfield County and 1,277 cases and 16 deaths in Marlboro County.



Last modified on Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:46
William R. Toler

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