ALBEMARLE — David Jenkins, director of the Stanly County Health Department, presented the county’s COVID-19 data at the Stanly County Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 21, showing that the latest statistics are now heading in the right direction after what was a turbulent start to the year.
As of March 1, the county health department is reporting an 8.0% positivity rate with 13 current hospitalizations and 15 new cases; there have been 19,289 reported cases and 265 deaths in total based on figures provided by the N.C. Department of Health of Human Services.
The positivity rate had reached 38.1% in late January.
“Our numbers have decreased significantly in our cases, which is a great direction to be trending in. It’s what we’ve been wanting to see for a while with this latest variant,” Jenkins said. “We had our latest spike of Omicron which occurred at the first of this year. Now we’re trending on the other side of that and we’re matching up in Stanly County with the state as far as trends are concerned. It’s good to see those numbers improve.”
The county vaccination rate is at 47% for the first dose and 44% for the second dose, while the state averages are at 65% and 61%, respectively. Each of those four percentages have gone up 2% since the beginning of January.
There have been 2,822 breakthrough cases and 22 breakthrough deaths in Stanly County — figures that have increased since the tally of 708 breakthrough cases and nine breakthrough deaths as reported on Jan. 3. At the board meeting, Jenkins presented a graph detailing that all 22 breakthrough deaths have occurred within the 60-and-over age range, with 21 of them in the 70-and-over range.
“Around December of 2020 into January of 2021, we had our largest amount of deaths, then we saw the Delta spike in the fall of 2021 into the beginning of 2022,” Jenkins said. “The landscape has changed in this pandemic from two weeks ago and even two months ago…the weaker Omicron variant is now dominant and the overall disease burden has decreased.”
Despite the rising number in breakthrough cases and deaths, the health department is reporting that a substantial number — 91.7% — of all the COVID-19 deaths in the county have been unvaccinated individuals.
The department is still offering free vaccinations throughout the week. The Pfizer vaccine is available on Mondays for children aged 5 to 11 and on Wednesdays for those 12 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is available on Tuesdays for those 18 and older.
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners will meet again at its next regularly-scheduled meeting on March 7 at 6 p.m. where it will receive an updated public data presentation from the health department.