As of Tuesday, Wilkes was still among counties identified as next to the least at risk from COVID-19 in a new Harvard Global Health Institute assessment.

Also on Tuesday, Alexander, Iredell and Caldwell were among counties next to most at risk from COVID-19.

The assessment puts each county nationwide and each state in one of four risk levels: green (least risk), yellow, orange or red (most risk). These are shown on a U.S. map.

A county’s risk level is based on its seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people each day. This is a seven-day “rolling average,” which means it’s updated periodically. Tuesday’s listings were based on averages for the seven days ending Monday.

The assessment on Tuesday included Wilkes among yellow counties, which are those with an average of one to nine new cases each day per 100,000 people. Counties adjoining Wilkes that were yellow Tuesday were Ashe (4.2), Alleghany (7.7), Yadkin (8), Watauga (8.1) and Surry (10.3). Wilkes was shown with an average of 3.5 new cases.

Wilkes had a cumulative total of 599 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, up from 593 on Monday and 586 on Friday. The 599 cases included 40 active cases, which are people in quarantine. One Wilkes resident was hospitalized. Of the 599 cases, 559 were considered recovered.

Among the 599 Wilkes cases Tuesday, 47% are ages 25-49 and 27% are ages 50-64. Another 12% are ages 18-24 and 6% are 65-74. Eighty-one percent of the cases resulted from close contact, which means the people they were infected by were identified.

Harvard Global Health Institute says yellow indicates community spread of COVID-19 exists and that rigorous testing and tracing programs are advised. The institute says orange indicates accelerated spread of COVID-19, with stay at home orders and/or rigorous testing and tracing programs advised.

Orange is for counties with a daily average of 10-24 new cases per 100,000 people. Orange counties adjoining Wilkes Tuesday were Iredell (13.4), Alexander (14.1) and Caldwell (19.3).

Two deaths in Caldwell

The Caldwell County Health Department on Tuesday reported the COVID-19-related deaths of two Caldwell residents.

One of the two was over age 65, had been hospitalized and was reported to have underlying health conditions, said Paige Counts, Caldwell Health Department public information officer. Counts said the other patient was between ages of 25 and 64, hadn’t been hospitalized and wasn’t reported to have any underlying health conditions.

Caldwell has had six COVID-19-related deaths, the same as Wilkes County. Caldwell has a cumulative total of 526 COVID-19 cases, including 300 recovered and 220 active. Sixteen of the active cases are hospitalized. Among the 526 cases, 64% are ages 25 to 64, 21% are 24 and younger and 15% are 65 and older.

Caldwell had seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Counts said one patient is under age 24, five are between 25 and 64 and one is over the age of 65. She said that due to the number of tests being received at the lab utilized by Caldwell County, it now takes four to five days for test results to come back. 

2 new clusters in Iredell

Clusters of COVID-19 cases were reported in a daycare facility and a high school in Iredell County on July 3. A cluster is five or more cases at the same facility. Clusters were reported at North Iredell High School, where five staff members tested positive, and at Primrose School of Lake Norman.

A graph shows that Iredell’s cases have sharply increased since early June. It had a cumulative total of 946 cases Tuesday, including 527 recovered and 407 active. Twenty-one of the active cases were hospitalized. Among the 946 cases, 38% are ages 25-49, 26% are ages 50-64, 13% are 65 and older and 9% are 17 and younger. Iredell has had 12 COVID-19-related deaths.

Alexander cases sharply increase

Alexander County’s cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased from 103 on July 2 to 132 on Monday. Among the 132 cases on Monday, 82 were recovered and 48 were active and in quarantine. One person was hospitalized. Alexander had a total of 134 cases Tuesday.

The county’s one COVID-19-related death was reported June 29. She said the person tested positive 14 days ago and had not been hospitalized for the illness. Other members of the household have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Active cases in Watauga

Out of a cumulative total of 96 cases as of July 5 in Watauga County, 54 were active. Watauga’s case total was 104 on Tuesday.

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