Worsening COVID-19 situation puts North Carolina on White House list


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A recent COVID-19 Community Profile Report from the White House placed much of North Carolina on its “sustained hot spot list.” The designation is defined as “communities that have had a high sustained case burden and may be higher risk for experiencing healthcare resource limitations”.

Less than 20 of the state’s 100 counties were labeled as “sustained hotspot” in the Dec. 26 report.

This comes as North Carolina’s case positivity rate hits 14.7 percent, the highest since April. That rate is also higher than it was before the Thanksgiving holiday when the state initiated a mask mandate in response to the pandemic.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the state is now designated as a red or orange county in its own COVID-19 county alert system.

CBS 17 wanted to know if anyone was considering modifications now at this time.

The state and municipalities in Wake County called the Monday after Christmas a holiday and were not available to respond. In the city of Durham, staff there said their mayor was not available all week to respond.

But the virus doesn’t take any time off for holidays. The pandemic remains a health emergency with the situation getting worse every week.

The maps above show that progression. On the left is the state in mid-December. Even then, it was largely a sustained hotspot. A handful of counties, shown in blue, were labeled as low or modern burden, one was an emerging hotspot and five were hotspots.

One week later, each hotspot was upgrades upgraded in severity while spread increased.

Source: COVID-19 Community Profile Report

In New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Ohio, every county is now at a sustained hotspot.

Click here to read the White House report.

In the past, municipalities like Cary, Wake Forest, and Chapel Hill told CBS 17 they would focus on education before enforcement.

Raleigh mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said, “The Raleigh Police Department has been really busy and we have not wanted to use them. When you bring in the police that sends a different message,” when CBS 17 asked if at some point the Raleigh Police Department would need to step in and help with enforcement.

At the time, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said their focus will begin to shift from educating to enforcing.

“We’ll look at them and if we determine they are violations that need to be acted upon we will.”

Meanwhile, hospitalizations broke another record this week and the virus continues its spread without much in the way.

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