Tuesday, 21 September 2021 21:15

COVID numbers in Richmond County, state trending downward

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COVID numbers in Richmond County, state trending downward RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — Although Richmond County, like every other in North Carolina, has “critical” community spread of COVID-19, case numbers seem to be on a downward trend.

The Richmond County Health Department on Tuesday reported 19 new cases. Monday’s report, which included Saturday and Sunday, announced 58 new cases — which averages out to 19.3 per day. The county had been averaging 30 or more per day.

Likewise, statewide numbers are also lower.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 3,257 cases on Monday — the first time numbers were less than 4,000 in more than a month — and 4,381 on Tuesday — the third-lowest daily total since Aug. 20.

Richmond County Schools reported four new student cases Tuesday — three at the Ninth Grade Academy and one at Monroe Avenue Elementary — bringing the school-year total to 222. There were 12 cases reported Monday.

The RCS COVID tracker also indicates one new case of a staff member at Rockingham Middle.

Since classes started back, nine of the 15 schools have seen case numbers in the double digits:

  • Richmond Senior High School - 43
  • Hamlet Middle - 31
  • Ninth Grade Academy - 27
  • East Rockingham Elementary - 18
  • Mineral Springs Elementary - 16
  • Cordova Middle - 13
  • Washington Street Elementary - 12
  • Monroe Avenue, Richmond Early College High School - 11

There have also been 33 cases involving staff members, including four in the Central Office.

The Richmond County Board of Education earlier this month continued a universal mask mandate for students, staff and visitors.

Because of increased demand, the Health Department has changed its testing hours.

Testing is available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m at the Health Department and a secondary site will open at Cole Auditorium on the campus of Richmond Community College Sept. 29 and run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Statewide hospitalizations have remained relatively steady, remaining below 3,500 for three consecutive days.

FirstHealth reports that 76 of its 391 patients (19%) are COVID-positive. Of those 13 are vaccinated and 63 are not. All but two of the 12 COVID patients in ICU are unvaccianted, as are all five currently on ventilators.

Those patients are from more than 13 counties in N.C. and surrounding states.

Even with lower and steady figures, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Tuesday that the numbers are still too high.

During a press conference, Cohen and Gov. Roy Cooper continued to encourage North Carolinans to get the jab.

Cooper also referenced an open letter the two sent to statewide religious leaders to help get people vaccinated:

“Getting vaccinated is one of the deepest expressions of our shared values to protect human life and love our neighbor. It is an act of love to our families and our communities. While we have made much progress in the state, too many people are needlessly getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying. Our hospitals are strained, and in other states we’ve seen that care is not readily available for people experiencing non-COVID life-threatening health crises. We need your help.”

According to the Health Department, 17,794 residents are now vaccinated — more than 200 since Friday.

Both the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are available through the Health Department, where they are available Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays from 8-11 a.m. There is no charge and no appointment necessary.