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Five more Forsyth residents die from COVID-19. County reports 175 new cases.
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Five more Forsyth residents die from COVID-19. County reports 175 new cases.

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Another five Forsyth County residents have died from COVID-19 related illnesses, while the local daily case count remains at elevated levels.

Forsyth recorded 175 new cases in Wednesday’s report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the pandemic began, Forsyth has had 44,743 cases and 471 COVID-19 related deaths.

Since Aug. 20, there have been 3,996 new cases and 32 COVID-19-related deaths in the county.

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 may have died days or weeks before their cases were counted.

On Tuesday, three Triad infectious diseases experts cautioned that the COVID-19 surge related to the delta variant might not reach its peak for another four to six weeks.

It’s also likely we won’t see peak hospitalizations until November, according to Dr. Christopher Ohl with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Dr. John Mann with Novant Health Inc. and Dr. Cynthia Snider from Cone Health.

Meanwhile, DHHS reported 4,752 new cases statewide, up from 4,124 Tuesday, but down from 5,274 reported Monday.

For comparison, North Carolina’s 8,620 cases on Aug. 25 marked the highest number of new cases recorded since January.

Across North Carolina, there have been 1.27 million COVID-19 cases and 14,894 COVID-19-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic, with the number of deaths up 63 since noon Tuesday.

Hospitalizations

As recently as July 6, statewide hospitalizations were as low as 231.

As of noon Wednesday, DHHS listed 3,790 COVID-19 related hospitalizations statewide, up 11 from Tuesday’s report.

The all-time high for COVID-19 hospitalizations was 3,990 on Jan. 14 — when the vaccine was available publicly on a limited basis.

In recent weeks, local and state health officials have said about 94% of all COVID-19-related hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals or vaccinated individuals who have health conditions.

The 17-county Triad and Northwest N.C. region has a combined 910 COVID-19 patients, up 11 from Tuesday.

As of noon Wednesday, North Carolina had 928 adults in the ICU with COVID-19. The Aug. 30 count of 941 was the highest that total has ever been.

Statewide, 644 patients were on ventilators, down just two from the all-time high.

Ohl said part of the community spread is coming from children and young people getting exposed and bringing the virus into their households.

Vaccinations

DHHS says 67% of adult North Carolinians are considered at least partially vaccinated. That includes the 61% of adult North Carolinians listed as fully vaccinated.

When including 12- to 17-year-olds, 59% of North Carolinians are fully vaccinated statewide.

About 4.91 million North Carolinians have gotten two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, while 399,716 have gotten the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As of noon Wednesday, Forsyth had 214,054 residents considered at least partially vaccinated, or 56% of all residents. That includes 196,395 residents — or 51% of all residents considered fully vaccinated.

By comparison, in Guilford and Mecklenburg counties, 53% of the total population is fully vaccinated. In Durham County, it’s 61%. In Wake County, 62% of the total population is vaccinated.

In recent weeks, the state has said unvaccinated people are more than four times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 15 times more likely to die from an infection.

The latest statewide positive test rate was 15.8%, based on 30,179 tests conducted Monday.

For Forsyth, the positive test rate is 13.5%, based on about 950 tests conducted Monday.

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K-12, child care facilities

DHHS said in a separate statement Wednesday that there have been at least 42 athletics-related clusters in North Carolina public, charter and private middle and high schools, “with a sharp increase in August coinciding with the start of the school year.”

“While NCDHHS data cannot distinguish how people were exposed in these clusters, past public health investigations in other states have shown that spread among teammates often happens off the field, including during practice.

“To protect students’ privacy, no other identifying information, including county or school, will be released.”

Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, the state’s chief medical officer, said that student athletes and their coaches need to increase layers of prevention to fight this more contagious delta variant: Don’t wait to vaccinate and urge others to do the same.”

“Student athletes who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after a close contact with someone with COVID-19.”

On Tuesday, the latest DHHS cluster report on K-12 schools and child-care facilities listed one Triad daycare with an active outbreak, which means the facility had at least five cases over a 28-day period.

Imprints Cares, at 502 N. Broad St. in Winston-Salem, reported 14 children and two staff members with cases of COVID-19.

There are 16 K-12 schools in the Triad or Northwest N.C. listed as having an active cluster, up from six in the Aug. 31 report.

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, R.J. Reynolds High School reported cases in 11 students but no staff members.

Newly listed K-12 clusters involve:

Lexington High School, with 15 students and one staff member;

West Wilkes Middle School with 14 students;

Mulberry Elementary School of North Wilkesboro with 13 students;

West Wilkes High School with 10 students;

Triad Math and Science Academy with 10 students;

Tyro Middle School with six students;

Oak Grove Middle School in the Winston-Salem section of Davidson County with five students;

Mountain View Elementary School of Hays with five students.

Previously listed K-12 clusters involve: Southeast Guilford High School had 10 students; Ashe County High School with five students; East Davidson High School with four students and one staff member; Revolution Academy Charter School in Guilford with four staff members and two students; and Western Guilford High School had three students and two staff members.

Long-term care facilities

There are 13 long-term care facilities in Forsyth with active clusters of COVID-19, according to Tuesday’s DHHS update.

There are 62 staff members infected, along with 37 residents, including three who have died.

The largest cluster is at Arbor Acres United Methodist Retirement Community Inc. with 18 staff members and eight residents, including one who has died.

Oak Forest Health and Rehabilitation has nine staff and three residents. Trinity Elms Health & Rehab has 10 residents, including one who has died, and five staff members.

For the Triad and Northwest N.C., the largest current outbreak is at Mountain Vista Health Park in Denton with 41 residents, including three who have died, and 14 staff.

There’s also Penn Nursing Center in Rockingham with 29 staff and 24 patients, including six who have died.

Overall, there are 55 active clusters involving 178 residents, with 17 related deaths, and 211 staff members.

DHHS confirmed the cluster is over at The Ivy at Clemmons, where two residents and one staff member were infected.

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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