WENTWORTH — Rockingham County saw 100 new cases over the past week, but on Tuesday hit an important safety goal — an infection rate below 5%.
The Centers for Disease Control considers a community infection rate of 5% or below a sign that the spread of COVID-19 is well managed.
The rate of 4.8% recorded Tuesday by the Rockingham County Public Health Division officials marks a healthy trend, area medical practitioners said.
Just a week ago, the infection rate stood at 6.2%, and in early February it had reached all time highs near 15%, county health records show.
Between Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, the county tallied 108 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of county residents who have contracted the disease since the start of the pandemic to 6,696.
Of that number, about 70%, or 4,692, are still recovering and under quarantine, while some 27%, or 1,824 have recovered, county health data show. The death toll stood at 82 on Tuesday and 90 people from the county were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Demographic breakdowns show 3,927 patients are 40 or older, while the balance is younger.
The county has performed 73,860 COVID-19 tests.
Statewide, 10,926 people have died from the highly contagious disease.
When will vaccines be offered again in Rockingham County?
The county expects to receive news from the state about upcoming vaccination doses every Friday.
Citizens should check with the Rockingham County Department of Heath and Human Services website often for updates about vaccine availability and new drive-through clinics. To schedule appointments, link to https://www.rockinghamcountypublichealth.org/emergency.aspx.
Individuals who received their first doses of the vaccine during the county's Jan. 12 clinic, should have received a phone call or a letter telling them to come back to a second drive-through appointment for their second dose on either Feb. 12 or Feb. 22, said Trey Wright, count public health director.
Rockingham County has performed 71,814 tests thus far. The state has calculated 824,352 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 10,501 deaths.
After your shot
While vaccinations are a great relief to those who receive them and to their loved ones, vaccinations don't solve all the problems of the pandemic.
Even after a second shot, experts say people should mask in public and around people who are not members of their immediate household. This is because scientists don't yet know if vaccinated and immune individuals may still be able to pick up and harbor live virus with no symptoms and pass it along to those who are not yet vaccinated.
Those with vaccinations must also wear masks and continue social distancing because of the unknown threats that come with quickly-developing variants of COVID-19, some of which may not respond to the vaccine as well as the original COVID-19 strain and the British strain, experts agree.
Some literature has emerged in recent days, as well, about the benefits of double masking to reduce the chance of breathing in aerosols from COVID-19 or any of its variants. The New York Times recently reported that data seem to support that doubling up masks can improve effectiveness.
How will you know when it's your turn to be vaccinated?