New cases of COVID-19 remain on the rise in Forsyth County and statewide with the gradual reopening of the North Carolina economy from the pandemic.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that there were 76 new cases in Forsyth and 2,359 statewide.
Both daily counts represent a reversal from recent declines.
There have been 556 new cases in Forsyth over the past seven days for a daily average of 80. That’s up from a range in the mid-50s in late March and early April.
The total Forsyth case count is at 34,201.
DHHS did not report any additional COVID-19 deaths for Forsyth. The county has had 367 COVID-19 related deaths during the pandemic, including six this month.
DHHS lists COVID-19 cases and deaths on the day they are confirmed by medical providers and public health officials so people may have been infected or have died days before their cases were counted.
“Over the past two weeks, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, particularly among younger people,” said Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease expert for Novant Health Inc.
“Across North Carolina, that trend has continued with lower positivity rates for those ages 65 and older, and higher for those ages 25 to 44.
“Our data mirrors that with an increase in our inpatient census over the last two weeks and patients skewing younger,” Priest said.
Priest said that “multiple factors are contributing to that, with most of our older population having been vaccinated because they were offered vaccine first.”
“We’re also seeing more contagious variants in the U.S. that may be contributing to more community spread here in North Carolina.”
Priest said the uptick in cases “underscores the need to get vaccine into peoples’ arms, continue masking, distancing and hand washing.
“COVID-19 is still here and still spreading in our communities,” Priest said.
“It’s easy to get relaxed and want to move on, but we’re not out of the woods just yet.”
The key measures of COVID-19 continued to fluctuate in Wednesday’s DHHS report.
The 2,359 statewide cases came after 1,334 were reported Tuesday and 1,469 on Monday. There was a six-week high of 2,509 cases reported Friday.
By comparison, the case count was 870 on April 6.
Since the pandemic began, North Carolina has recorded 938,754 cases.
There were 20 additional deaths reported statewide Wednesday for a total of 12,325.
COVID-19 related hospitalizations jumped statewide from 904 in Monday’s report to 1,032 in Tuesday’s report and 1,045 in Wednesday’s report. It’s the highest level since 1,075 on March 10.
Statewide hospitalizations were as low as 859 on March 27. The daily peak for the pandemic is 3,990 on Jan. 14.
The 17-county Triad region reported 223 hospitalized COVID-19 patients Wednesday, up nine from Tuesday.
DHHS lists a statewide positive test rate of 7.6% based on 13,089 tests performed Monday. The rate had dropped to 3.4% on March 9.
For Forsyth, the latest positive test rate was 4.2% of 600 tests performed Monday.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health secretary, has said a statewide positive test rate of 5% or lower marks a decrease in community spread of COVID-19.
Forsyth vaccine providers —the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant — have given 102,573 individuals at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of noon Wednesday.
DHHS reports that 26.6% of Forsyth residents, or 104,105, out of an estimated 388,453, have received at least one dose.
DHHS reported that 89,243, or 23.3%, are considered fully vaccinated in Forsyth, having either received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
Blurring the reporting lines is that an estimated 25% of people who have received a vaccine dose in Forsyth are not county residents, as well as the Forsyth residents who got their first or both doses outside the county.
Statewide, 6.05 million doses of vaccine have been administered in North Carolina — about 5.02 million by medical providers and 1.03 million through the federal pharmacy program that includes vaccinations in stores and long-term care centers.
DHHS says the numbers of first and second doses provided are at just under 3.45 million and 2.35 million, respectively, as of Wednesday. There have been 249,722 J&J vaccine provided.
About 41.58% of the statewide adult population has received at least one dose, and 31.7% both doses.