RALEIGH — The latest County Alert System map and statistics were released on April 1 by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, with the report providing good news on the critical spread of COVID-19 in the state.
“North Carolina’s key metrics show a leveling off of trends in COVID-19 spread after several weeks of decline,” the NCDHHS report introduction stated.
With the encouraging news of less critical spread comes the report with the latest map, which is based off data collected between March 14 to 27, that it shows a slight increase in the number of counties in the “orange” zone, indicating substantial spread of COVID-19.
“Although levels are far below the post-holiday peak in January, most of the state continues to experience significant or substantial community spread with concerning increases in younger age groups,” the DHHS report adds. “Continued adherence to the 3Ws – wearing a face mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing hands often – along with people getting vaccinated as soon as soon as one is available to them are critically important to slow the spread of the virus. The COVID-19 County Alert System gives individuals, businesses and community organizations, and public officials a tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to take slow the spread of the virus.”
NCDHHS also announced with its latest report a further breakdown of classifications within the County Alert System, separating the previous yellow “significant impact” into levels for “significant impact” and “moderate impact.”
A total of 11 counties elevated from significant impact into the “orange” substantial zone, including Alamance, Currituck, Dare, Davie, Edgecombe, Franklin, Iredell, Nash, Person, Polk and Sampson counties.
Avery County, as well as Bladen, Camden, Gaston, Granville, Lee and Pender counties, have moved from the orange zone in the previous report into the “yellow” significant spread zone. Watauga County is classified as significant spread in the latest system rankings, while Ashe, Mitchell and Yancey counties are each classified under the new lighter-shaded yellow “moderate” spread category, while Alleghany County is the only county classified statewide in the green, “low impact” classification.
The level of risk and its color classification is determined by multiple factors, including new cases in the county per 100,000 residents over the previous 14-day period, the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, and the hospital impact within each county.
According to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard, the state’s health officials reported 907 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 statewide as of Monday, April 5, an increase of 34 hospitalizations from earlier that week.
As of April 1, the most recent date of NCDHHS updating as of the figures by press time due to the Easter weekend holiday, 4.4 percent of coronavirus tests across the state were reported positive, while 5.1% of tests returned as positive per day as illustrated in the previous week of available figures. Health officials have repeatedly indicated that five percent or lower is the target rate to control the spread of the virus.
More than 5.21 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina as of April 5, a total of almost 600,000 administered than the previous week, and more than 1.92 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated, almost 300,000 additional individuals from the previous week.
NCDHHS data indicates that Avery County has administered a total of 5,371 first doses of vaccine, or 30.6 percent of Avery County residents who have received their first-dose vaccine as of April 5, with 20.8 percent of the overall county population, or 3,653 individuals, having received a second-dose vaccination.
“Percent of population metrics are calculated using the entire North Carolina population (i.e., all ages). When a county has a population of fewer than 500 individuals for a specific demographic group, some data are suppressed to protect patient privacy. The state’s dashboard is the source for the most accurate and timely information for vaccine data for the state,” stated NCDHHS on its Dashboard homepage. “North Carolina’s information on people vaccinated comes from the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), a secure, web-based system provided for free to all who administer COVID-19 vaccinations. It helps vaccine providers know who has had a first dose of which vaccine to make sure people get the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. It also helps people register for vaccination at the appropriate time and allows the state to manage vaccine supply. First Doses Administered data include all first doses administered, regardless of whether the individual has also received a second dose of the vaccine. Second Doses Administered data include individuals who have completed the vaccine series. Information on vaccinations is confidential health information that is carefully managed to protect patient privacy. Information will not be shared except in accordance with state and federal law.”
Click to https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines for more information on the vaccines and vaccine distribution statewide, and to learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine rollout, click to YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.
Local, state and national statistics
As of Monday, April 5, according to available dashboard data from the NCDHHS, the total number of coronavirus cases rose statewide to 922,560 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
NCDHHS reports that 12,173 people have passed away in connection with COVID-19, including 88 North Carolinians who have died related to the virus over the previous seven-day period.
NCDHHS reported on April 5 that Avery County has eclipsed the 2,000 cumulative-case mark, with a report of 2,009 total positive community cases, an increase of 20 cases from the previous week. The department reports Avery with 20 deaths associated with the virus.
According to NCDHHS Dashboard data on April 5, Avery reports 34 cases per 10,000 residents over the previous 14-day period, In comparison, Mitchell County reports 17 cases per 10,000 residents, while Yancey County reports 12 cases per 10,000 residents. Watauga County reports 29 cases per 10,000 residents, while Ashe County reports 18 cases per 10,000 residents during the same 14-day period.
“Public health staff is working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to contain the spread of disease,” TRHD reported. “The Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County health departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.”
According to latest NCDHHS Dashboard data on April 5 Mitchell County reported a total of 1,314 positive cases and 16 deaths. NCDHHS reports Yancey County with 1,518 total cases as of April 5 with 27 deaths.
Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports more than 131.5 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the U.S. totaling 30.71 million cases in the nation as of April 5. Johns Hopkins reports that the United States has experienced 555,035 deaths related to COVID-19 as of Monday, April 5.
The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs report more than 11.5 million completed tests as of Monday, April 5, according to N.C. DHHS.
The estimate of people presumed to have recovered from the virus as of April 5 is more than 887,724 statewide, with the estimate provided each Monday afternoon by NCDHHS. NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.
In neighboring counties, Watauga County reports 4,489 positive tests, with 61 active cases and 31 deaths among residents, while Ashe County reports 2,113 positive cases, with 19 active cases and 44 deaths as of April 5, according to AppHealthCare data.
Caldwell County reports 8,991 positive tests as of April 5 with 102 deaths, while Wilkes County has 6,338 reported cases and 105 deaths, according to NCDHHS Dashboard data.
NCDHHS reports McDowell County with 5,057 cases and 63 deaths. Burke County reports 9,601 cases and 146 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.
In Tennessee, Johnson County reports 2,223 cases with 38 deaths, while Carter County reports 6,214 cases and 156 deaths as of April 5 according to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health.
Statewide, the top four counties reporting total positive cases are Mecklenburg County (103,967), Wake County (81,412), Guilford County (43,431) and Forsyth County (33,598), the sum of which comprises 28.4 percent of all confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, according to April 5 NCDHHS statistics. NCDHHS data reveals that only nine of North Carolina’s 100 counties (Alleghany, Camden, Clay, Gates, Graham, Hyde, Jones, Perquimans and Tyrrell) report less than 1,000 total positive COVID-19 cases.
The reported testing numbers could be incomplete due to differences in reporting from health departments and other agencies. Sources include Toe River Health District, AppHealthCare, NCDHHS, Caldwell County Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health.
Updated news and information on the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response can be found by clicking to covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.