Friday, 16 October 2020 16:02

COVID clusters reported at Richmond County retirement home, prison; state sets new record in cases

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ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Health Department has reported more than 50 new cases of COVID-19 in the past two days.

Twenty-four cases were reported on Thursday and 32 were announced on Friday, for a two-day total of 56 and a five-day total of 96.

Records with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services show 14 cases — seven each among residents and staff — at the Hermitage Retirement Center.

County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Tommy Jarrell said that number has increased since the report was released Oct. 13.

Another reason for the recent increase in cases is another cluster at Morrison Correctional Institute in Hoffman.

The N.C. Department of Public Safety reports there are currently 12 active cases at Morrison.

Records show 54 inmates have tested positive and 41 are presumed to have recovered.

Nineteen cases were reported at the prison on Sept. 21.

As of Friday, there were 168 active cases, with 158 under home isolation and 10 hospitalized.

Hospitalizations have been on the rise across the state this month, peaking at 1,152 on Oct. 13.

Richmond County Schools reported one new case of a virtual student at Cordova Middle on Thursday and two virtual student cases on Friday, one at Hamlet Middle and one at East Rockingham Elementary.

So far, there have been 222 local cases for the month of October. Only one reporting day has seen fewer than 10 new cases.

September saw the most cases in the county (358) for one month: 49 the first week; 106; the second week; 91 the third week; 79 the fourth week; and 33 the final few days last week.Richmond County has had a total of 1,269 positive cases since the first was reported in April, and 11,625 negative results.

Jarrell said the coronavirus is so widespread in the community that it is becoming “extremely challenging” to tell where someone becomes infected.

“It’s everywhere,” he said.

Statewide cases set new records in consecutive days, with DHHS reporting 2,532 new cases on Thursday and 2,684 on Friday. The previous record was set July 18 with 2,486.

“As the numbers continue to move in the wrong direction on this key metric, it is more important than ever that all North Carolinians use the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus: wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often,” reads a press release from DHHS. “Masks have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially if worn correctly and collectively. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

The state has also reported 3,910 COVID-related deaths, including 25 in Richmond County. The most recent local death was reported Oct. 15.

As of Oct. 12, DHHS estimates that 206,471 patients have recovered.


The number of local cases per age group are as follows:

  • 0-18 - 164
  • 19-30 - 217
  • 31-40 - 158
  • 41-50 - 223
  • 50-64 - 270
  • 65-older - 237

The number of cases per ZIP code are as follows:

  • Rockingham - 682 (94 active)
  • Hamlet - 357(51 active)
  • Ellerbe - 120 (5 active)
  • Hoffman - 90 (15 active)
  • Mount Gilead - 10 (0 active)
  • Marston - 9 (2 active)

DHHS reports that more than half of the state’s 100 counties that have now experienced more than 1,000 total cases: Alamance, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Burke, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Craven, Franklin, Chatham, Cleveland, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Gaston, Granville, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Henderson, Hoke, Iredell, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onlsow, Orange, Pender, Pitt, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Robeson, Rockingham, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Surry, Union, Vance, Wake, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes and Wilson.

Tyrell County has the fewest number of total cases at 119, followed by Camden (131) and Madison (135).

Compared to other counties with a population between 43,000 and 48,000, Richmond tops the list. Mc Dowell and Beaufort counties follow at 1,195 and 1,189, respectively.

Vance County has had 1,135 cases. The other three counties in the same population bracket have lesser totals: Vance (1,119); Jackson (818); and Stokes (604).

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

  • Mecklenburg -31,279 (the only other counties to top 10,000 are Wake with 19,583 and Guilford with 10,286)
  • Union - 5,526
  • Stanly - 2,328
  • Montgomery - 1,119
  • Anson - 687
  • Moore - 2,081 (249 active, 38 deaths)
  • Hoke - 1,423
  • Scotland - 1,498
  • Robeson - 5,437

All numbers are from DHHS except Moore, which are from the local health department, as there has been a discrepancy with the state. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting 1,406 total cases and 41 deaths in Chesterfield County and 1,051 cases and 12 deaths in Marlboro County.