Governor issues safety reminder after COVID-19 ‘high-risk’ counties more than double across NC

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

RALEIGH — Just a week after North Carolina reported having 18 counties labeled as being at a “high risk” of illness and strain on the healthcare system due to COVID-19, a new report shows the number continues to rise.

North Carolina is now home to 41 high-risk counties, with the majority located in the eastern and central region of the state.

The rise is part of an overall trend in “repeat infections” in particular, as the BA.5 variant continues to affect more and more residents across North Carolina.

While Gov. Roy Cooper emphasized that vaccines and boosters still “remain highly effective” in decreasing the chance of serious illness or death due to the virus, new strains like the BA.5 can spread quickly when first introduced to the public.

“While COVID variants continue to infect people, we have the tools to protect ourselves from the most serious effects of this virus. Get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask indoors in crowds if you believe you need better protection and if you become infected, talk with a health professional quickly about effective treatments like Paxlovid.” he said. “Cases are on the rise with this latest BA.5 variant so I encourage all North Carolinians to know their risk and take steps to protect themselves.”

Rowan remains a “medium risk” county as of Tuesday but a growing number of other counties nearby have been switched to “high risk” in the past two weeks alone.

NC Director of Homeland Security Secretary Kody H. Kinsley encouraged residents of the state to maintain a safe approach to the virus as rates continued to rise throughout the summer.

“North Carolinians know how to batten down the hatches and get prepared when hurricanes approach. When COVID-19 case counts are rising, it’s especially important to protect yourself. We know what to do now. It’s time to make sure you are boosted, make sure you have tests on-hand at home and make sure you know where treatment options are near your home.”

The Rowan County Public Health Department responded to the recent rise in rates by asking Rowan residents to be proactive as the current strain continues to spread.

To help protect yourself and others, Rowan County Public Health recommends receiving your COVID-19 vaccine and booster, wearing a well-fitted mask, physical distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, staying home when sick and self-testing.

COVID-19 vaccines for all ages are available at Rowan County Public Health. Residents can call 704-216-8777, option 3 for an appointment.

At-home COVID-19 test kits and masks are also available at Rowan County Public Health. Call 980-432-1800 or email for more information.