Report reflects COVID-19 improvement

Guy Lucas, News-Topic, Lenoir, N.C.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—Caldwell County no longer counts among the North Carolina counties with the highest level of new COVID-19 infections.

Reflecting trends seen in declining COVID-19 numbers across the state, the number of counties counted as having critical levels of virus spread has dropped dramatically since early February, according to a state report.

Just 27 counties now are counted in the red-colored portion of the state's COVID-19 County Alert System, down from 61 on Feb. 4, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported. That's the fewest red counties since the start of the County Alert System, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said.

"With North Carolinians continuing to follow the 3Ws and more than one million people in the state having received at least a first dose of vaccine, we are slowing the spread and saving lives," she said. "Let's keep it up."

Another 40 counties — including Caldwell — now are counted as having substantial viral spread, up from 33. Those are colored orange on the alert map. And the number having lower but still significant spread, colored yellow, is 33, up from six.

No counties have what would be considered a low rate of spread.

Some of Caldwell's neighbors are in greatly different situations: Catawba and Alexander counties remain in the red zone of critical spread, but Burke, Watauga and Wilkes counties are in the yellow zone.

North Carolina reported 2,133 new COVID-19 cases Monday, continuing a weeks-long downward trend, and over the previous week, the state reported an average of 2,917 new cases per day, the lowest since Nov. 18. Hospitalizations have been decreasing for weeks as well. DHHS reported 1,567 people were hospitalized on Sunday, the most recent number available. Hospitalizations peaked in mid-January at 3,990.