Tuesday, 29 December 2020 20:21

Richmond County records more than 60 new COVID cases; free testing extended through January

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Richmond County records more than 60 new COVID cases; free testing extended through January Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s low daily case count didn’t last long.

The Health Department reported 63 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday — up from just six the day before — making it the third-highest reporting day the county has had since the first case was reported in April.

The two highest days, Dec. 7 (81) and 14 (64), both included test results from the prior weekend.

There have been a total of 741 residents to test positive during the month of December. There were 403 positive cases in November and 401 in October.

On a positive note, the Health Department estimates that there were 74 more who recovered in the past 24 hours, keeping the number of active cases at 288, with 277 under home isolation. 

According to the Health Department, 2,253 of the 2,591 residents who tested positive over the past eight months have recovered. The county has also recorded 49 COVID-related deaths, the most recent on Dec. 23.

Of all the tests performed, 22,109 have returned a negative result.

Despite the local increase, the statewide daily coronavirus case total decreased to 3,563 — 325 fewer than on Monday — making it the third-lowest daily total this month and the fourth day with fewer than 4,000 new cases, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

North Carolina has experienced 524,279 total positive cases, which includes 42,614 antigen positive cases.


Also on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell announced that the Health Department has begun administering vaccines under Phase 1a.

Those in line for vaccinations under this phase include:

  • behavioral health providers 
  • community health workers
  • dental hygienists
  • dentists
  • EMT/paramedics
  • environmental services staff
  • health care trainees (e.g., students, residents) 
  • home health workers
  • morticians/funeral home staff
  • nurses 
  • nursing assistants
  • personal care aides
  • pharmacists
  • physicians 
  • public health and emergency preparedness workers
  • public health nurses
  • respiratory techs

According to DHHS, 124 Richmond County residents have received the first dose of one of the two vaccines that have received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to receive EUA, Moderna’s was the second.

FirstHealth announced on Dec. 18 that it had begun the two-dose vaccination for its employees.

“Although additional vaccine is anticipated weekly, it is unknown when and how much will be received each week,” Jarrell said in a press release. “North Carolina has mandated phase 1a group be completed before moving to phase 1b.”

Jarrell added that the federal government is working with Walgreen’s and CVS pharmacies to administer the vaccine to long-term care facilities during the first phase.

“The department is projecting, based upon available information at this time, that phase 1a will be completed within the next two weeks,” he said.


The number of North Carolina residents being treated for COVID-19 has steadily risen over the past month, setting new records almost daily.

As of Dec. 27, there were a record 3,377 hospitalizations statewide, according to DHHS. The Health Department reported 11 hospitalizations on Tuesday and FirstHealth reports that 83 of its 366 patients (22.7%) are COVID-positive.


According to DHHS, there have been 6,800,055 completed tests for the coronavirus in the state.

FirstHealth has completed 71,781 tests with 61,908 negative results, 8,642 positive results, and 364 results still pending.

Some individuals have been tested multiple times.

The Health Department announced Tuesday that free COVID-19 testing would continue throughout the month January — except for New Year’s Day — in the parking lot behind the building.

Testing will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, except when closed for lunch from noon-12:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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

  • 0-18 - 383 (+6) 
  • 19-30 - 418 (+12)
  • 31-40 - 355 (+9)
  • 41-50 - 452 (+9) 
  • 51-64 - 530 (+14)
  • 65-older - 454 (+14)

(+ Denotes increase from previous report)

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

  • Rockingham - 1,402 (153 active)
  • Hamlet - 756 (91 active)
  • Ellerbe - 221 (30 active)
  • Hoffman - 172 (9 active)
  • Mount Gilead - 13 (1 active)
  • Marston - 26 (4 active)
  • Jackson Springs - 1 (0 active)

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

  • Mecklenburg - 61,093 (other counties to top 10,000 are Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, Durham, Alamance, Cumberland, Gaston, Pitt, Johnston, Cabarrus, Catawba, and Union)
  • Union - 12,034
  • Stanly - 4,190
  • Montgomery - 1,878
  • Anson - 1,383
  • Moore - 4,701 (583 active)
  • Hoke - 2,702
  • Scotland - 2,475
  • Robeson - 9,506 (more than higher-populated counties New Hanover and Buncombe)
  • All numbers are from DHHS except Moore, which are from the local health department, as there has been a discrepancy with the state.

Tyrrell County, the smallest by population, remains the only one of the state’s 100 counties to have fewer than 200 cases with 166.