The Wilkes County Health Department reported that as of Monday, 11,603 Wilkes residents had tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

This included 161 actives cases, with 14 of these hospitalized.

Wilkes County’s COVID-19-related death total was 197 as of Monday, up from 196 on Dec. 10.

For the week ending Dec. 17, Wilkes had a positivity rate of 8.82% on COVID-19 tests. It had been 10% or higher in the prior couple of weeks. The rate was 11.34% in the seven days ending Dec. 10.

Wilkes remained in the highest level of severity for transmission of COVID-19 as of Monday.

This level is red, which refers to having a rate of at least 100 new cases per 100,000 people in a week. Wilkes had a rate of 228 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people for the week ending Dec. 19, with 156 actual cases.

Wilkes County’s rate was 257 per 100,00 for the week ending Dec. 12. It was 217 per 100,000 in the same period the week before that.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported on Dec. 14 that two Wilkes County schools had COVID-19 clusters at that time. A cluster is at least five related COVID-19 cases in a school setting within two weeks.

North Wilkes Middle School had 15 confirmed cases, all students. Mountain View Elementary School had five confirmed cases, all students.

Also on Dec. 14, the DHHS reported an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Wilkes County Jail. The agency reported that 16 inmates there had COVID-19.

An outbreak is at least two positive cases in 28 days.

DHHS reported outbreaks at three nursing homes in Wilkes.

This included 39 cases (10 staff and 29 residents) at Westwood Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Seven deaths, all residents, were reported in this outbreak.

Twenty-six cases (20 residents and six staff) in an outbreak at Accordius Health in Wilkesboro was reported. Three deaths of residents were reported in this outbreak.

At Wilkesboro Health and Rehabilitation, 17 cases (13 staff and four residents) were reported in a current outbreak. No deaths were reported in this outbreak.

Among residential care facilities, 16 cases (10 staff and six residents) were reported in an outbreak at Wilkesboro Assisted Living.

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