Apr. 2—TRIAD — The state's system for showing the danger of COVID-19 spread in every county displays a new color now.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has expanded the COVID-19 County Alert System from showing three tiers of viral spread to five tiers. A county colored green on the state map has a low level of viral spread.
On the updated map posted late Thursday, only Alleghany County in the far northwestern corner of the state is green.
Another new tier is light or pale yellow for moderate viral spread.
The changes further illustrate recent decreases in COVID-19 across the state. The previous maps all had only three tiers: significant spread, colored yellow; substantial spread, colored orange; and critical spread, colored red.
This week there are 21 orange counties, 47 yellow counties, 31 light yellow counties, and one green county. There are no red counties this time.
In comparison, the previous report posted two weeks ago showed one red county, 17 orange counties, and 82 yellow counties.
Randolph County was the lone red county in that report, but in the new report it has improved to orange, mainly reflecting the COVID-19 impact on Randolph Health improving from high impact to moderate impact. Randolph Health officials had attributed the high impact rating to a much higher-than-average percentage of COVID-19-related emergency department visits.
Guilford, Davidson and Forsyth were yellow, for significant viral spread, in the report two weeks ago. In the new report, Forsyth has improved to light yellow, for moderate spread.
Although this update of the County Alert System reflects overall positive trends in COVID-19 during the past two weeks, the improvement as illustrated in graphs on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard has been slowing, and health officials have warned against residents easing off the prevention measures of wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing.
For instance, although the seven-day average of new cases has held relatively steady over the past two weeks, the number of people statewide hospitalized for COVID-19 has been going up, rising from a 2021 low of 882 people last Saturday to 985 on Wednesday.