CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — The Cabarrus Health Alliance issued a public health advisory Thursday, recommending all residents and visitors, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, to wear masks indoors or in crowded outdoor areas where social distancing isn't possible.
Health officials with CHA said the delta variant is more than two times as contagious as the original strains of COVID-19 and is causing large, rapid increases in the area. Cabarrus County has experienced a 200% increase of new cases in the last two weeks, averaging 800 new cases per week. The percent of positive tests has increased from 2.4% to 14.2% in two months.
"Our community and our health care system cannot sustain the rapid rise in cases," Dr. Bonnie Coyle, public health director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance, said. "Vaccines are still the best protection against COVID-19, but masks also play a part in controlling the spread, along with washing our hands, social distancing and proper cleaning of public spaces."
CHA cited data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that shows the delta variant is spreading from one person to an average of six people. The original strain of COVID-19 spread from one person to an average of two or three people.
As of Thursday, 3,552 people were hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19. DHHS said 883 people are in the ICU, with fewer than 300 available ICU beds left in the whole state.
Atrium Health, which has a hospital in Cabarrus County, said 94% of its COVID-19 patients on ventilators are unvaccinated. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that delta makes up nearly all new COVID-19 cases nationwide and roughly 94% of new cases in North Carolina and South Carolina.
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