ALBEMARLE — COVID-19 disease activity in Stanly County increased over the past week, and the transmission risk remained high.
The county’s health department announced on July 22 that the local COVID-19 community level has now transitioned from low to high in conjunction with 210 new positive cases and two new deaths.
“Stanly County has seen a 44.6% increase in reported COVID-19 cases from the previous week,” the health department wrote in a recent press release. “Hospitalizations are also increasing from what we have seen over the past several weeks.”
“In Stanly County, community level is high. During high COVID-19 community levels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following: wear a mask indoors in public, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms, and additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.”
Health officials warn that the new code orange CDC safety level in the county has arrived in part with the new BA.5 omicron subvariant of coronavirus that has become one of the dominant strains of the virus in the U.S. The BA.5 (43.8%), BA.2.12.1 (25.6%), and BA.4 (20.2%) variants now account for the vast majority of reported cases, per North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data.
On a state level, the latest data released by the NCDHHS indicates that with 27,930 new cases reported and 1,099 new COVID-related hospitalizations, the numbers have hit their highest mark since February 2022.
The county health department has confirmed 20,617 cases and 280 deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. However, case counts are often undercounted because at-home tests are typically not recorded in the official public health database.
The department announced on July 22 that the OptumServe drive-in COVID-19 testing sites would soon be closing. The Locust site, located in the back parking lot of Stanly Community College’s Crutchfield Campus, will close on July 27, while the Albemarle site, located at Stanly County Commons parking lot, closed on July 26.
However, the department is still providing free in-house tests and vaccinations while now offering at-home COVID-19 test kits to the public at no cost that can be picked up at the front desk of the health department during regular business hours, Monday through Friday (8 am to 5 pm). Each test kit contains two tests and instructions for use — new kits are in stock, but supplies are limited.
In Stanly County, the percentage of the population that is vaccinated with at least one booster sits at 27% (16,919), while that number sits at 58% on a state level.