RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than two-thirds of North Carolina’s counties are orange on a federal map with the highest community levels of COVID-19.
A total of 68 counties were in the orange zone in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s map updated Thursday night — including every county in the CBS 17 viewing area but four.
It represents a massive jump from last week, when there were just 10 orange counties in the state and five the week before.
A week ago, every county in central North Carolina was yellow. This week only Wake, Franklin, Johnston and Wilson counties were among the 30 counties shaded yellow with medium community levels of spread.
Only two counties were green with the lowest levels — Yancey County along the Tennessee border, and Gates County in the state’s northeast corner. There were 38 green counties last week.
The CDC advises people in orange counties to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including in K-12 schools and other community settings.
A county moves into the orange, high-level zone if it has more than 200 new cases per week for every 100,000 people who live there, and has either more than ten COVID-19 hospital admissions that week for every 100,000 people, or if 10 percent or more of the people in hospitals have COVID-19.
CBS 17’s Joedy McCreary has been tracking COVID-19 figures since March 2020, compiling data from federal, state, and local sources to deliver a clear snapshot of what the coronavirus situation looks like now and what it could look like in the future.