CHARLOTTE — Rates of COVID-19 are on the rise again in the Carolinas and many local communities are now considered in the high level for spread, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A dozen counties in Channel 9′s coverage area are at high COVID-19 levels, CDC data shows. The list includes Alexander, Anson, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Richmond, Stanly and Union counties in North Carolina, as well as Chesterfield County in South Carolina.
“At this highest community level, we all must take steps to slow the spread and use the effective tools we have available: get up to date with your vaccines, stay home if you’re not feeling well and test, and meet outdoors when possible” said Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Public Health director. “We all need to do our part.”
The omicron BA.5 variant, which health officials said appears to be more contagious and more resistant to immunity from vaccines or previous COVID-19 illness, is currently the majority of new cases in the United States and in Mecklenburg County.
Across the 22 counties in Channel 9′s reach, only Ashe County and Watauga County remain at low community levels for COVID-19.
“Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area,” according to the CDC’s website.
In Mecklenburg County, CDC data says COVID-19 cases have increased 15% in just the last week.
The CDC advises people living in communities with a high risk for COVID-19 wear masks when indoors in public, stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if symptomatic and take extra precautions if they have a greater risk for severe illness.
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