New alert system designates Wilson County as having critical community spread of COVID-19


WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – Wilson County is one of three counties in central North Carolina to receive the red or critical community spread designation in the new County Alert System. Wilson County officials said they welcomed the new tool as they would anything that would help spread the word.

However, Assistant County Manager Ron Hunt said the numbers in his county aren’t surging — they’ve been consistently high for the last three or four weeks.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wilson County has had 476 people test positive for the virus in the last two weeks.

“We want to remind our citizens that this not a grade on how well we are doing as a county,” Hunt said.

In order to be deemed a red, critical zone, the state said the rate at which people are testing positive is higher than 10 percent or there’s a high impact on county hospitals.

According to NCDHHS, Wilson County’s positivity rate is just under 8 percent.

“We’ve seen an uptick in our actual hospital. We have 32 cases today,” Hunt said. “However, the count for Wilson County is around 45 and citizens are at a variety of hospitals throughout the region.”

Hunt added that the new cases are primarily coming from small gatherings, not restaurants or other businesses.

“You find people are a lot less cautious around family members because you’re more comfortable with the family you know and trust and love,” said Prue Sellner, a manager at Ruckus and Redemption.

The restaurant opened back in February, only to close a month later.

Sellner said he wasn’t surprised, but disappointed by the new distinction.

“I actually have two little kids at home. I have an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old, so I don’t really don’t want to bring anything back home,” Sellner said.

NCDHHS said it would be updating the County Alert System once a month. It hoped it would encourage those in the county to work together to combat spikes in cases.

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