WENTWORTH —At last, Rockingham County may be experiencing a reprieve from high COVID-19 infection rates, the latest state and CDC statistics show.

Based on a Feb. 16 report from the federal health agency, the number of county residents hospitalized due to COVID-19 has dropped dramatically. Indeed, the average rate of inpatients has plummeted 17% over the past 14 days, the CDC records show.

The number of cases reported per day in the county of 91,000 has also steeply decreased.

The current rate of 11 infections diagnosed daily represents a 19% decline from the average two weeks ago in daily reporting of new cases, according to the CDC.

Since the start of the pandemic, 27,480 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the county, and 338 residents have died from the respiratory disease. The bulk of the deceased were over age 70.

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Surrounding counties are also enjoying declines in infection rates, the CDC report shows. Stokes County, for example, reports 10 new cases daily, while Caswell County has recorded fewer than three cases each day.

Bordering Pittsylvania County, Va., is also experiencing a decrease in daily case reports with an average of five per day, the CDC report shows.

Vaccination rates still remain low for Rockingham County, with just 54% of all ages being vaccinated. Only 15% of residents of all ages have had a booster shot, records show.

Numbers are more encouraging for county residents ages 65 and up with 89% vaccinated and 37% with a booster.

Statewide, 91.7% of North Carolinians have had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. And 66.7 % of all North Carolinians are fully vaccinated, the agency reports.

State and county health officials continue to urge people to get fully vaccinated and the NCDHHS has recently shared that people with updated vaccines are 18.6 times less likely to die from COVID-19. The statistic applies to people with weakened immune systems, as well, the NCDHHS reports.

The state also reports that 16% of North Carolinians who have had COVID-19 have experienced longer lasting symptoms, a syndrome known as long COVID. Symptoms can include fatigue, brain fog, headache, heart palpitations, dizziness upon standing, breathing difficulty and coughing.

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