Tuesday, 25 January 2022 17:32

Richmond County, state see sharp decline in COVID cases

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ROCKINGHAM — The nearly month-long Omicron surge seems to be on the decline in Richmond County and across the country as new cases drop dramatically.

The Richmond County Health Department on Tuesday reported only 47 cases of COVID-19, compared to the nearly 200 per day over the weekend.

Likewise, statewide cases dropped to 13,017 — the second-lowest point all month, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The fewest number of cases reported so far in January was 10,276 on Jan. 4.

Multiple media outlets are reporting similar drops in other states, including New York and Pennsylvania, as well as in South Africa where the variant was first detected.

Richmond County Schools’ COVID Tracker on Tuesday showed that 50 students at all but three of the district’s 15 schools have recently tested positive:

  • 9 - Richmond Senior High
  • 7 - Cordova Middle
  • 6 - L.J. Bell Elementary, Ninth Grade Academy
  • 4 - Fairview Heights and Washington Street Elementary, Richmond Early College High School
  • 3 - Mineral Springs Elementary
  • 2 - Monroe Avenue Elementary, Ellerbe and Hamlet Middle
  • 1 - East Rockingham Elementary

RCS also reported three new cases among the staff: three at East Rockingham; one each at L.J. Bell, Washington Street, and Hamlet Middle.

Since the school year began in August, there have been 1,157 students and 277 staff members to test positive, with Richmond Senior topping both lists. The case total has more than doubled since Jan. 6.

Although case numbers are dropping, hospitalizations are still on the rise, with NCDHHS reporting another new record high of 5,055.

FirstHealth’s updated hospital census on Tuesday showed that 113 of its 386 patients (29.3%) were COVID-positive.and Scotland Memorial Hospital had 46 isolated patients.

The federal government recently started taking orders for at-home kits at covidtests.gov. Each family is eligible for four free kits.

Free drive-thru COVID testing is available Monday-Friday behind the Health Department from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and the parking lot of Cole Auditorium in Hamlet from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., as well as from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays at both locations.

Vaccines and boosters are available for those who want them at the Health Department from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8-11 a.m. on Fridays.

Vaccines have been authorized for adults and children as young as 5 years old.

According to NCDHHS, 20,885 Richmond County residents (47%) are considered fully vaccinated and 8,271 have received booster shots.