Wednesday, 21 July 2021 19:57

COVID cases back on the rise in Richmond County

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COVID cases back on the rise in Richmond County Pixabay

ROCKINGHAM — New COVID-19 cases are starting to rise again with the Richmond County Health Department reporting 93 for the past week on Wednesday.

That number, which averages out to 13 new cases per day, is up from 69 on July 14 and 38 on July 7.

There has been an average of 13 new cases per day this month. Most days from May 1 through June 4, when the Health Department stopped releasing daily numbers, had fewer than 10.

The number of active cases has risen from 49 on July 7 to 114, with 10 residents reportedly hospitalized with the coronavirus, according to the Health Department.

It is not know how many, if any, of these are breakthrough cases — when patients are diagnosed with the coronavirus after 14 days of being fully vaccinated

Statewide daily cases hit a low of 55 of June 26 but have climbed, with a few dips along the way, to 1,434 — nearly doubling since Monday — according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

COVID-related hospitalizations in North Carolina have also curved upward, from a low of 373 on July 3 to 694, which is more than 200 patients more than a month prior.

According to DHHS, 35% of Richmond County’s population is fully vaccinated — just under half of the Health Department’s goal of 66%. Comparatively, 46% of state residents are vaccinated.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper and DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen introduced the updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit.

The update says students and staff in K-8 schools should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status and those (students and staff) in grades 9-12 should wear masks indoors if they haven’t been vaccinated.

“We are seeing the impact of the very contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 and it’s hitting those who are unvaccinated hard,” said Cohen. “Schools need to use the additional safety protocols outlined in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit to continue to protect students and staff as we enter the new school year.” 

All three vaccines with emergency use authorization in the U.S. are available in Richmond County. However, local health officials are trying to reserve the Pfizer vaccine for teenagers, as it is currently the only one authorized for use on those aged 12 and up. Moderna is now seeking the same approval.

Vaccines are available at the Health Department Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays from 8-11 a.m.

There is no charge and no appointment necessary.