First COVID death in 7 weeks reported in Cleveland County as cases spike

SHELBY, N.C. — After months of seeing COVID-19 trends on the decline, Cleveland County is now experiencing a rapid increase in the spread of the virus.

According to a release, the Cleveland County Health Department received a report on Monday of a COVID-19-related death. The person who died was younger than 50.

The death was the first from COVID-19 in the county in seven weeks, bringing the county’s total COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic to 229.

County officials said all other COVID-19 metrics are spiking as well.

In the past two weeks, the county has had a total of 197 COVID cases, averaging about 14 new cases a day. In the past week, the county has seen a total of 123 new cases, bringing that average of new daily cases up to 18 a day.

Last week, the NCDHHS updated the state’s County Alert System, and Cleveland County was one of 12 counties that moved from yellow to orange, indicating substantial spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Cleveland County’s percent of tests that are positive is currently 10.8% and there are currently 10 county residents hospitalized from COVID-19.

“Many of these cases, hospitalizations, and deaths could be prevented by getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said DeShay Oliver, Deputy Health Director at the Cleveland County Health Department. “According to NCDHHS, over 94% of recent cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina are in people who are not vaccinated. While a very small percentage of vaccinated individuals in NC have contracted COVID-19, these vaccinated individuals are far less likely to suffer severe illness and death from the virus. People who are not vaccinated are at risk for infection from the more contagious and potentially dangerous Delta variant that now makes up over 80% of all cases in our state.”

As of Wednesday, just 38% of Cleveland County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 49% of all North Carolinians.

>> Click here for a closer look at the data.

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment with the Cleveland County Health Department, call 980-484-6019.

Anyone who receives a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or who drives someone to receive their vaccine at the health department or at a health department sponsored vaccine event will receive a $25 MasterCard through the end of August.

The Cleveland County Health Department will be hosting pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Kings Mountain Family YMCA on Friday, July 30 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and at Washington Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, Aug. 14 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at many healthcare provider offices and pharmacies in Cleveland County. To find other COVID-19 vaccine providers, use the Find a Vaccine Location tool at www.myspot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567.

You can also text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near you.

(WATCH BELOW: COVID-19 cases rise in Cleveland County as vaccination rate drops)