RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Nearly a quarter of North Carolina’s 100 counties are in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s orange zone with the highest level of COVID-19 in the community, according to a new federal map.

The map updated Thursday night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 24 counties orange — up from 13 last week.

(Photo credit: CDC)

Another 42 were colored yellow with medium levels of the virus, meaning two-thirds of the state’s counties are in one of the top two tiers.

Last week, 59 counties were either orange or yellow.

Durham County — the state’s only county in the orange zone two weeks ago — is still orange, along with Granville, Person, Vance and Warren in central North Carolina.

The CDC recommends everyone in 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 ten percent or more of the people in hospitals have COVID-19.

For all 24 counties, the criteria that pushed or kept them orange were the case rates and the hospital admissions.

Durham County once again had the highest case rate at more than twice that high standard — at more than 419 new cases for every 100,000 people.

The CDC said nearly 10 percent of counties across the country were orange, up from seven percent last week. Less than 58 percent were green, after that rate was at nearly 70 percent a week ago.


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.