Wednesday, 26 January 2022 20:13

COVID cases remain relatively low in Richmond County; 2 more deaths reported

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COVID cases remain relatively low in Richmond County; 2 more deaths reported RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — New COVID cases in Richmond County remain relatively low as the Omicron surge seems to be declining.


The Richmond County Health Department reported only 52 cases on Wednesday, only five more than the number reported Tuesday.

However, the positivity rate is still at 35% — where it has been for the past week — which is higher than the state average of 32.4%, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to data from the Health Department, there have been 3,322 positive test results since the Dec. 30 report.

For the third consecutive day, Richmond County Schools has reported more than 50 new cases in the system. (Note: The RCS COVID Tracker was not updated on Friday.)

On Wednesday, the COVID Tracker showed 48 new student cases in all but one school (Ashley Chapel Educational Center) in the 15-school district:

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

RCS also reported five new cases among staff members: two at L.J. Bell; and one each at Fairview Heights, Cordova and Richmond Senior.

Student cases for the school year, which began in August have now topped 1,200.

According to the COVID Tracker, 1,203 students have tested positive, including 271 at Richmond Senior, 137 at NGA and 112 at Rockingham Middle.

All other schools have had fewer than 100 cases, with Ashley Chapel at the lower end of the spectrum (11).

There have also been 282 staff members to test positive since August. Richmond Senior also tops that list with 37, followed by Fairview Heights and L.J. Bell, both with 28, Washington Street with 24 and Central Services with 23.

The case total has more than doubled since Jan. 6.

Daily cases increased statewide to 20,386, according to NCDHHS. There have been only four days since Dec. 30 with fewer than 15,000 cases.

The Health Department also reported two additional COVID-related deaths, bringing the pandemic total to 172. The first death was reported in April of 2020.

No statistics are available since the Health Department stopped sending press releases on deaths earlier this month.

There were also two deaths reported on Tuesday.

Richmond County has seen 13 COVID-related deaths this month, with five days to go. As a comparison, there were 23 reported each in January and August of 2021.

North Carolina’s COVID-related death total is now at 20,193, an increase of 247 since Monday, according to NCDHHS.

When compared to the other five counties with similar populations (43,000-48,000) Richmond ranks the highest, but Stokes County has seen the largest increase. Records with NCDHHS show the following death totals:

  • Vance - 109 (+1)
  • Beaufort - 142 (+2) 
  • McDowell - 142 (+2)
  • Stokes - 140 (+15)
  • Jackson - 80 (+0)

(Additions in parentheses are since Jan. 19. State records may not reflect county records, as Richmond is still only shown to have 162. During the same time period, Richmond has had six.)

Neighboring Scotland County, which has about 10,000 fewer residents than Richmond, has had 161 COVID-related deaths, an increase of four since Jan. 19.

Statewide COVID hospitalizations hit another record high on Tuesday of 5,090.

Regional hospital system FirstHealth reported Wednesday that 112 of its 386 patients (29%) were COVID-positive and Scotland Memorial Hospital had 40 COVID patients isolated.

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, 20,891 Richmond County residents (47%) are considered fully vaccinated and 8,310 have received booster shots.