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

The assessment puts each county nationwide and each state in one of four risk levels, indicated by green (least risk), yellow, orange or red (most risk). These are shown on a map of the United States.

A county’s risk level is based on its seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people each day. The seven-day averages are updated periodically and Friday’s listings were based on averages for the seven days ending Wednesday.

The assessment included Wilkes among yellow counties Friday. Yellow is for counties with an average of one to nine new cases each day per 100,000 people. Wilkes was shown with an average of 3.8 new cases.

According to the Harvard Global Health Institute, yellow indicates community spread of COVID-19 exists and that rigorous testing and tracing programs are advised. Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander and Watauga counties also were yellow on Friday.

Caldwell, Iredell, Surry and Yadkin counties were orange, which is for counties with a daily average of 10-24 new cases per 100,000 people. The institute says orange indicates there is accelerated spread of COVID-19, with stay at home orders and/or rigorous testing and tracing programs advised.

Red is for counties with an average of 25 or more new cases each day per 100,000 people and green is for counties with less than one. Sampson, Lee, Montgomery and Mecklenburg were the only red counties in North Carolina. There were no green counties in the state.

North Carolina, with an average of 14.4 cases, was among 13 orange states on Friday. South Carolina, Florida and Arizona were the red states. Vermont was the only green state.

In addition to helping people know where their home counties stand with the COVID-19 pandemic, the assessment is designed to help them decide what parts of the country that should or should not visit.

The assessment is at https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

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