Wilkes County ended 2021 and started 2022 in a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

Wilkes went from 198 deaths officially tied to COVID-19 on Dec. 22 to 205 on Dec. 29, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The county’s total was still 205 when the new year started.

The number of Wilkes residents testing positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic started surpassed 12,000 on Dec. 29. DHHS reported a total of 12,102 for Wilkes that day.

The Wilkes total was over 400 less (11,682) a week earlier on Dec. 22.

DHHS reported that as Monday, 12,316 Wilkes residents had tested positive since the pandemic began.

Wilkes hasn’t experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases this large since a surge in mid-September 2021, driven by the delta variant of COVID-19.

The latest surge is due partly to the increasing dominance of the highly-transmissible omicron variant.

Wilkes County’s positivity rate on COVID-19 tests was 13.36% for the seven days ending Dec. 27. It was still 13.36% for the seven days ending Dec. 29.

Wilkes and every other county in the state except Polk was colored red for high transmission rate on Monday. Polk was colored orange for substantial transmission rate, one level less severe than red.

Red indicates more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in a seven-day period (week ending Dec. 29) and/or a positivity rate of at least 10%, also in a seven-day period (week ending Dec. 27).

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