As of Sunday, Wilkes was still among North Carolina counties listed as next to the least at risk from COVID-19 in a Harvard Global Health Institute assessment.

Caldwell County was one of the state’s 13 counties identified in the assessment as most at risk.

The Harvard assessment puts counties and states in one of four risk levels, indicated by green (least at risk), yellow, orange or red (most at risk).

A county or state's risk level is based on its seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day. The seven-day averages are updated periodically. Sunday’s assessment was based on averages for the seven days ending Friday.

Red is for counties and states averaging more than 25, orange is for those averaging 10 to 24.9 and yellow is for those averaging one to 9.9 new cases per 100,000 per day for the seven days. There are no green counties in North Carolina, but this is counties averaging less than one new case per 100,000 people per day.

Wilkes, Ashe and Watauga counties were listed Sunday with daily averages of 6.5, 7.9 and 9.7 new cases per 100,000 people per day respectively. Nineteen other North Carolina counties were yellow.

It wasn’t clear if the average for Wilkes included all of the five staff and 13 residents of Westwood Hills Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Wilkesboro who tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Caldwell was listed with an average of 29.4 new cases per 100,000 people per day, which was the sixth most among the 100 counties. Tyrrell County averaged the most with 71.1.

All of the other counties adjoining Wilkes were orange, including Alleghany with an average of 14.2 new cases per 100,000 people per day; Surry, 16.7; Yadkin, 13.7; Iredell, 15.5; and Alexander, 16.

Wilkes had a cumulative COVID-19 case total of 694 and nine COVID-19-related deaths Sunday. These totals for adjoining counties were Alexander, 253, two; Alleghany, 62, zero; Ashe, 84, one; Caldwell, 961, seven; Iredell, 1,501, 16; Surry, 757, four; Watauga, 210, zero; and Yadkin, 441, six.

North Carolina was an orange state and ranked 16th among all states with an average of 18 on Sunday. South Carolina and Tennessee were red states, ranking eighth with 33 and 10th with 31 respectively. Virginia was an orange state, ranking 30th with 12.

The top five states were Florida, 50; Louisiana, 47; Mississippi, 43; Alabama, 38; and Georgia, 35.

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