CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After bucking the statewide coronavirus trends for weeks, Mecklenburg County's key metrics have now begun to rise. When North Carolina, overall, started to note sharper case jumps towards the end of September, the county's measures were much more stable.
That is no longer the case.
New county data, released Tuesday morning, shows daily new cases, positive test rate, and hospitalizations increasing in recent days.
Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County's Deputy Health Director, updated county commissioners on the latest trends during their Tuesday night meeting.
"You probably heard us say, two weeks ago, things were looking really good for us, but we told you it was fragile," Dr. Washington said, noting the county's daily cases have nearly doubled over the last week.
See the latest county trends below.
Washington also told commissioners that hospitalizations were rising again, due to increased spread among county residents and heightened viral activity in surrounding counties.
"We've seen this happening really quickly--really quickly. A number of the hospitals in the counties around us have reached capacity, and they're starting to divert patients from their county to Mecklenburg County," Washington said.
Adding to the growing cases is one of the county's latest super-spreader events.
Over the weekend, the county reported nine positives tied to convocation events held over multiple days at United House of Prayer for All People on Beatties Ford Road. Tuesday night, Washington said the count had grown to at least 50 cases, with 75 close contacts who could also be infected. The health department is currently reaching out to these contacts to have them tested and to ask them to quarantine.
Adding to the scope of the concern, Washington said a handful of the confirmed church cases have introduced the virus into their at-risk residence.
"Five of these are residents of a congregate living setting. It's an independent living facility for seniors, and now we've lodged a cluster at this facility," Washington said.
The county is asking anyone who was involved in the church's convocation events to watch for symptoms and get tested. Washington said the events took place over multiple days, from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11, but the largest gatherings and most potential for spread were on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11.
Statewide, coronavirus metrics continue to hit concerning markers. Tuesday, COVID-19-related hospitalizations rose back above 1200 for the first time since July. Earlier this week, the average daily new cases also matched July records, when viral spread was the highest for North Carolina.
The state is still in Phase 3 reopening, which is set to expire Friday at 5 p.m. Gov. Roy Cooper has promised more detail this week on what will come next.
The governor's office has announced a coronavirus briefing for Wednesday at 2 p.m. While, Cooper has not hinted at whether a tightening of restrictions is to come, he has stated that the current trends are concerning to him and that science and data will continue to drive his decision-making.