Tuesday, 02 February 2021 16:15

System SNAFU skews Richmond County COVID cases

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System SNAFU skews Richmond County COVID cases Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — More than half of the COVID-19 cases reported by the Richmond County Health Department on Tuesday are old and won’t go toward the active total.

Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell said that 52 of the 88 reported cases for two testing sites appeared in the system “overnight” and some were from early January and late December.

With the cases being that old, Jarrell said those individuals are no longer contagious and are now considered recovered. He added that those who tested positive were already notified by the entity conducting the test.

Subtracting the old cases leaves Tuesday’s case count at 36 new cases and brings the county’s overall total since last April to 3,763. There are currently 275 active cases.

Richmond County Schools reported two new cases, involving one staff member at each Cordova Middle and Richmond Senior. Two staff members at the high school, as well as one each at Rockingham Middle and West Rockingham Elementary, were reported positive on Monday, the day in-person classes were scheduled to resume.

Of all the tests performed, 27,950 have returned a negative result.

Jarrell said he’s “hopeful” that cases have peaked, as the percentage of positive cases both locally and statewide continue a recent downward trend. However, he admitted, “Things can change.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday reported 2,926 new cases across the state — the first time cases have totaled fewer than 3,000 since Dec. 1. 

New cases seem to have peaked Jan. 9 at 11,581, starting a mostly downward slope.

COVID-related hospitalizations have also been declining since mid-January, following a gradual increase from mid-November.

Statewide hospitalizations were down to 2,741 on Tuesday, though the local number increased by two to 18. FirstHealth had not updated its figures as of this writing.

Jarrell also said that he’s hopeful that vaccinations will help lower the number of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.

With the one reported earlier in the day, there were 23 COVID-related deaths in the month of January. Sixty-seven of the county’s 76 deaths have been residents aged 60 or older.

The latest figures from DHHS show 3,617 residents have been administered the first of the two-dose vaccine and 431 have had both doses.

Jarrell said there are around 1,200 residents scheduled to receive a dose this week.

“I think things are heading in the right direction,” he said.