Monday, 01 March 2021 20:57

Active COVID cases drop below 100 in Richmond County

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County started March off with fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases for the first time in nearly four months.

According to the Health Department’s daily update on Monday, there were only 82 active cases of the coronavirus in the county.

The last time day with fewer than 100 cases was Nov. 5 (96) and the last day with fewer than 85 cases was Nov. 6 (79).

Cases began to rise in November, hitting a peak of 504 on Jan. 14 before steadily declining.

The Health Department reported 23 new cases over the weekend, averaging out to a little more than seven per day Saturday through Monday. The department also reported 11 new cases on Thursday and 12 on Friday.

The new cases bring the county’s overall total to 4,185; and 31,697 tests performed have returned a negative result.

Richmond County Schools reported one virtual student at Washington Street Elementary has tested positive.

Cases involving virtual students outnumber traditional students 232-66, according to district records made public since late August 2020. There have also been 130 school staff members to test positive, as well as 11 employees of Central Services.

Students have been allowed back for in-person instruction for a month, following a split decision by the Richmond County Board of Education in late January.

However, that’s not the case around the state.

Legislators on Monday failed to overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto on a bill to reopen North Carolina schools, the Carolina Journal reported.

Statewide, new daily cases dropped below 1,500, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

COVID-related hospitalizations across the state have also declined over the past month, dropping to 1,319 on Feb. 28 — more than half of the total a month earlier.

Local hospitalizations, which had dropped to four on Feb. 24, have now risen back to eight.

COVID-positive patients at FirstHealth facilities currently account for 30 of the system’s 329 total census (9.1%).

DHHS announced earlier Monday that Johnson & Johnson’s new one-shot vaccine will soon be available in the state. Vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna were approved late last year.

Currently, only the two-dose Moderna vaccine is administered in Richmond County.

According to DHHS records, 6,944 people have received the first dose in Richmond County and 3,506 have been given both.

School and child care workers were eligible to receive the vaccine last week. More than 200 staff from the district signed up for a Feb. 25 clinic at Richmond Senior High School.

Other frontline workers in Group 3 will be eligible on March 10.

To sign up for the vaccine locally, call 910-417-3030 and leave your name, date of birth and phone number. Local health officials ask that callers not leave multiple messages.

Vaccinations aren’t restricted by residency.

To schedule an appointment in Scotland County, call 910-291-7654 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

McLeod Health Cheraw will hold a walk-in clinic 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, March 5 at Pine Grove Baptist Church, 293 Zoar Road, Chesterfield, South Carolina for those listed in Phase 1 — healthcare workers, first responders and those 65 or older. A work badge or photo ID will be required.

Limited first doses will be available starting at 10 a.m.

UNC Pembroke will host a virtual town hall to provide vaccine information on Thursday.