RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than one-third of North Carolina’s counties have either high or medium levels of COVID-19 in their communities, according to the numbers used to create a key color-coded federal map.

Five North Carolina counties were colored orange with the highest level of COVID-19 in those communities and another 34 were yellow with medium levels, according to numbers updated Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Photo credit: CDC)

The majority of counties — a total of 61, including Wake and Durham — were colored green with the lowest COVID-19 level.

None of the five orange-colored counties were in central North Carolina. But, Orange, Chatham, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore and Sampson were among the yellow ones.

Every other county in central North Carolina was green.

In a sign that spread related to Thanksgiving gatherings is showing up in the pre-Christmas numbers, that map has changed quickly. There were 97 green counties to three yellow ones on Dec. 1, and 91 green ones as recently as Dec. 8. 

The number of yellow counties jumped to 23 last week when there were two orange ones and 75 that were green.

The CDC advises people in orange counties to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including in 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 has 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.

Editor’s Note: CBS 17 will update this article with the most recent map graphic when it is released.


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.