RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The number of counties now seeing high levels of COVID-19 transmission are up.
As those numbers rise, the state has moved away from using its own county alert system map. It will now rely on the CDC mapping data.

The county’s old maps used a combination of case rate, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospital impact within the county to color code counties. By the time those maps were published however, they were already outdated.

While the state in the past only updated their county-level map every two weeks, the CDC’s map is updated daily giving a real-time look at the progress that’s being made.

The CDC county transmission map has shown that no county in North Carolina is anywhere close to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind them. The number of cases and percentage of tests coming back positive is looking worse by the day.

“I just want people to mask up and get vaccinated. This is just, it just sad,” said Dr. Paul Delamater, an associate professor of geography at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Delamater has been mapping and tracking COVID-19 across the state for the last year. He says low vaccine levels and the circulating delta variant are deteriorating the state’s COVID-19 situation.

“[Cases are] just going straight up,” he said.

Almost no good progress is happening anywhere.

“People really need to think about not just what is happening right there in their county but what’s happening in the counties around them and make decisions based on that,” said Delamater.

People cross county borders daily to shop, work or go home. So, even at the state level, county color-coding doesn’t necessarily make a difference for those in lower transmission areas.

“The virus and infections don’t respect county borders as much as sometimes we wish they did,” Delamater said.

According to the CDC, the counties in red or orange are places you should be wearing a mask. Masking is just one of the safety precautions Delamater says people need to consider no matter your county.

“I do think it’s better to be safe than sorry right now,” he said.