The latest COVID-19 surge in Forsyth County has killed another four residents, and 231 new cases were reported Wednesday.
Key COVID-19 numbers remain elevated in Forsyth, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
On a more positive note, the state reported Forsyth now has more than 200,000 fully vaccinated residents — 200,025, or 52% of the total population. Another 16,716 residents are considered partially vaccinated.
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.
Since the pandemic began, Forsyth has had 46,197 cases and 483 COVID-19-related deaths.
Over the past three weeks, the county has reported 5,450 new cases and 44 deaths, nearly all involving unvaccinated people.
Those totals alone represent 11.8% of all COVID-19 cases ever reported in Forsyth, along with 9% of all COVID-related deaths in the county.
“We are still at our January levels for weekly COVID cases, at or near our peak” of the pandemic, said Joshua Swift, the county health director.
Swift said new cases involving newborns to 17-year-olds dropped slightly from 29% of new cases for the week that ended Sept. 4 to 27% for the week that ended Sept. 11.
Swift encouraged parents, grandparents and other family members “that you’ve got to be diligent not only at school, but also after school because that’s when we have seen cases among students in the past and what we are seeing now.”
“It could be after-school athletics and other extracurricular activities, or if you are in high school, it could just be kids being kids piling into a car and going to a store, shopping, parties.”
Swift cautioned that similar behavioral patterns have been seen among adults since Gov. Roy Cooper began relaxing mask mandates in May.
“You haven’t seen the transmissions as much at work as after work,” Swift said.
Swift said that, based on the latest University of Washington state-by-state COVID-19 case trends, North Carolina, “doesn’t look like we’re going to go down (in cases) as fast as we went up” since early August.
“It looks like (Forsyth) is going to stay in that 1,200 to 1,400 weekly case trend for September, and while we may go slightly down after that, it won’t be back at the levels we were in June and July for quite some time,” Swift said.
Swift said that, in his discussions with local elected officials, he has been emphasizing “that going forward it’s about modifying our (public health) practices that we’re doing and making adjustments to make it safer.”
North Carolina reported 7,277 new cases Wednesday, compared with 4,760 on Tuesday, 5,346 on Monday and 7,207 on Sunday.
Across North Carolina, there have been 1.31 million COVID-19 cases and 15,405 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of deaths was up 100 from Tuesday’s report.
In recent weeks, local and state health officials have said that between 90% and 94% of all COVID-19-related hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people or vaccinated people who have health conditions that put them at risk.
As recently as July 6, statewide hospitalizations were as low as 231.
As of noon Wednesday, DHHS listed 3,630 COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide, down 60 from the previous day’s report.
The all-time high for COVID-19 hospitalizations was 3,990 on Jan. 14 — when the vaccine was available publicly on a very limited basis.
The 17-county Triad and Northwest N.C. region had a combined 855 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, down nine from Monday.
North Carolina had 946 adults in the ICU with COVID-19 on Tuesday, down from Monday’s 955 count, which was more than ever before.
Statewide, 690 patients were on ventilators, down from Monday’s count of 701, which also was an all-time high.
The latest statewide positive test rate was 11.9%, based on 36,417 tests conducted Monday.
For Forsyth, the most recent positive test rate was 13.2%.
On Tuesday, the latest report on K-12 schools in North Carolina listed 24 in the Triad or Northwest N.C. with active clusters of COVID-19, up from 18 in the Sept. 7 report and from six in the Aug. 31 report.
A cluster means that the school had at least five cases over a 28-day period.
In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, R.J. Reynolds High School has reported cases in 11 students, but no staff members.
Newly listed K-12 clusters include those at Greensboro Day School, with nine students; Wilson Elementary in Haw River, with nine students; Greensboro Academy, with seven students; Andrews Elementary in Burlington, with six students; Piney Grove Middle School in Lawsonville, with five students and one staff member; East Surry High School, with five students and one staff member; North Surry High School, with five students and one staff member; Western Alamance High School, with three students and two staff members; and High Point Christian Academy, with four students and one staff member.
Long-term care facilities
There are 16 long-term care centers in Forsyth with active clusters of COVID-19, according to Tuesday’s DHHS update.
Forsyth has 73 staff members infected, along with 38 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.
Trinity Elms Health & Rehab has 11 residents, including one who has died, and seven five staff members. Oak Forest Health and Rehabilitation has 10 staff and three residents.
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 15 staff.
There’s also Penn Nursing Center in Rockingham, with 29 staff and 24 patients, including six who have died.