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CDC: Mecklenburg County is back in the 'high' community level for COVID-19

The number of North Carolinians testing positive for COVID-19 and going to the hospital has increased by 17% within two weeks.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the Carolinas are crawling back up once again. The CDC updated its COVID-19 community level maps Thursday, indicating Mecklenburg County is experiencing "high" impacts. 

Under CDC guidance, the high tier calls for more widespread usage of masks in public and indoor settings for all, not just those considered high-risk. 

Iredell, Alexander and Union counties also moved into the high tier Thursday, while Gaston, Lincoln and Cleveland counties moved down into the medium tier.

Under medium impacts, COVID-vulnerable people in a community are encouraged to mask in public indoor settings.

That’s why health officials in both Carolinas are working to increase the lagging vaccination rate among children. They’re encouraging parents to take action to combat the unwanted trend.

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The numbers of North Carolinians testing positive for COVID-19 and going to the hospital have increased by 17% within two weeks, with adults over the age of 50 making up the majority of hospital admissions.

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South Carolina's COVID-19 numbers are also trending upward, with the state reporting more than 16,000 new infections last week. That count is up 13% from the week before.

"To prevent this increase that we're seeing currently in cases from becoming an unwanted longer trend, we need to continue to increase our vaccination rate in the state," SC DHEC Director of Public Health Dr. Brannon Traxler said. "Especially among children."

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Health officials say, as school starts to ramp back up next month, increasing the vaccination rate among children is going to be key towards stop this unwanted trend. They also noted that masking protocols will be left up to the schools to decide.

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"This is the third school year that they have gone through this," Traxler said. "They have the guidance."

In South Carolina, less than a quarter of kids under 12 have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In North Carolina, just over a quarter of school-aged children under 12 have had their first dose.

RELATED: Several Charlotte-area counties rise to CDC's 'high' community level for COVID-19

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