Five COVID-19-related deaths of Wilkes County residents were reported in the seven days ending Tuesday, the most reported in the county in one week.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported the latest two (49th and 50th) Wilkes deaths Tuesday. The 48th death was reported Monday and the 46th and 47th were reported Nov. 18. Before Nov. 18, no additional COVID-19-related deaths of Wilkes residents had been reported since Nov. 8.

The Wilkes County Health Department hasn’t released the age ranges of the latest three COVID-19 victims, whether they had prior health conditions or any information about where they died.

There were 5,074 COVID-19-related deaths statewide as of Tuesday, up 95 from the prior day.

The health department provided additional information on COVID-19 clusters and outbreaks in Wilkes after the deadline for Wednesday’s print edition of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot. A cluster is five or more linked cases at the same facility and an outbreak is two or more cases in a congregate living facility.

According to the health department, COVID-19 case numbers for current outbreaks at congregate living facilities in Wilkes include Westwood Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 76 residents and 85 staff; Wilkes Health and Rehabilitation, 31 residents and 23 staff; Rose Glen Manor, nine residents and eight staff; Accordius, 28 residents and 15 staff; and Wilkes Assisted Living, 26 residents and five staff.

The health department said Eckerd Connects in Boomer had 11 cases earlier. DHHS reported that as of Nov. 24, the Wilkes County Jail had two COVID-19 cases.

The health department reported COVID-19 clusters at two churches, a meat processing plant (Tyson Foods Inc.) and three occupational settings, but a department spokesman said the number of cases at each couldn’t be released.

As of Tuesday, 2,535 Wilkes residents had tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That was up from 2,506 on Monday.

The health department reported Monday that Wilkes had 275 active COVID-19 cases, including 26 people hospitalized. Most of these were at Wilkes Medical Center in North Wilkesboro.

DHHS reported that Wilkes had 630 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the two weeks ending Tuesday. That ranks ninth among the state’s 100 counties. Those counties with more were Columbus, 994; Avery, 985; Mitchell, 902; Alexander, 808; Catawba, 683; Northampton, 657; Burke, 648; and Vance, 640.

Totals per 100,000 for the last two weeks ending Tuesday for other adjoining counties were Ashe, 596; Yadkin, 565; Surry, 556; Caldwell, 522; Iredell, 483; Watauga, 413; and Alleghany, 215.

North Carolina had a record daily high of 1,724 COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday, up nearly 8% from the previous high of 1,601 reported Monday. The Triad region, which for these purposes includes Wilkes, had the most COVID-19 hospitalization among eight regions statewide.

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