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Cornelius News

NC introduces COVID-19 County Alert System

Nov. 17. By Dave Yochum. Citing a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper this afternoon announced a new county-by-county alert system ahead of next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.

The alert system—with three colors ranging from yellow to orange to red—will protect the state’s hospital system and save lives, Cooper said.

The goal is to pinpoint counties with the highest levels of viral spread and offer specific recommendations local officials on how to bring numbers down.

This system will give local leaders another tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to slow viral spread.

The map will be updated every four weeks. To view the full report and methodology, click here.

Cooper said the county-by-county system will bring “a renewed effort to focus on enforcement.”

A week ago, the governor paused North Carolina in Phase 3 reopening, saying he would limit indoor social gatherings to 10 people at Thanksgiving. New coronavirus cases statewide climbed from a seven-day average of roughly 1,200 two months ago to 2,700 now.

Ten counties ‘critical’

Ten counties are red with critical community spread and 40 are orange with substantial community spread.

Mecklenburg is a “yellow” with a 14-day case rate of 340 per 100,000 residents. Mitchell County, home of Bakersville and Little Switzerland, is a “red” county with a COVID-19 case rate of 835.

Wilson County, home of Elm City, Saratoga and Stantonsburg, is dealing with a “high impact” on its hospital system due to COVID-19.

Dr. Mandy Cohen NCDHHS secretary

“By pinpointing counties with high virus transmission and asking everyone in those counties to work with us and do more right now to slow the spread of the virus, we can succeed,” Cooper said. “It can help bring down their case rates, keep their communities safer, save lives and keep their hospital systems working.”

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen said the entire state must work together to avoid tightening restrictions like so many other states are now doing.

“The COVID-19 County Alert System gives North Carolinians an easy way to see how their county is doing and know what they can do protect their family and neighbors and slow the spread of this virus.”

The system uses metrics informed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and North Carolina’s key metrics to categorize counties.

Three tiers

Yellow: Significant Community Spread

Orange: Substantial Community Spread

Red: Critical Community Spread

Because no one metric provides a complete picture, the COVID-19 County Alert System uses a combination of three metrics: Case rate, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospital impact within the county.

The NCDHHS today reported 3,288 new cases and 1,501 people hospitalized due to COVID-19.