RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Just 11 North Carolina counties — fewer than half as many as last week — were colored orange with the highest level of COVID-19 in those communities, according to a federal map.

In the latest sign of significant improvement, more than half of the state’s counties — 53 of them — were green with the lowest level of the virus in those communities on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map.

It showed a drop in the number of orange counties for the second straight week. There were 23 counties at the highest level last week, which was down one from the week before.

Another 36 counties were yellow with medium COVID levels, down from 42 a week ago.

Most of the orange counties are clustered in eastern North Carolina near the coast. In central North Carolina, Durham County was orange for the fifth consecutive week and was joined by Vance County.

The CDC recommends everyone in the orange counties wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including 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 have 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.

No North Carolina county has more than 5.3 percent of its hospital beds occupied by a COVID patient. Yadkin County has the highest case rate at nearly 311 new cases per capita.

Durham County’s case rate has come down but remains high at 294 while also having 14.6 COVID hospital admissions per capita.

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.