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12 hospitalized, Rock cases jump by 24 in one day to 541
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12 hospitalized, Rock cases jump by 24 in one day to 541

WENTWORTH — Between Tuesday and Friday, Rockingham County added 41 new COVID-19 cases to its sick list.

Luckily, 369 of coronavirus patients diagnosed have fully recovered, while 135 remain at home recovering and quarantined.

Meanwhile, 12 patients are hospitalized in the region for more severe symptoms. And since the start of the pandemic, eight county residents, all over 60 and with some underlying medical conditions, have died from the highly contagious illness, according to county health officials.

Last weekend marked the highest weekend jump in infections to date with the Rockingham County Department of Health and Human Services reporting 31 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases between July 31 and Aug. 3 — a climb from 463 to 494.

Since last Wednesday, when cases numbered 446, the county of 91,000 has experienced a 21.3% spike in reported illness, RCDHSS statistics show.

Last week new cases were highest among 18-year-olds, followed by those in their mid-20s and 40s, Susan Young, the county’s interim public health director, told the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners during their Monday night meeting.

This week, more cases are being seen in people in their 40s-60s, explained Rockingham County Manager Lance Metzler.

Since July 17, when the county’s illness count was 356, the rural region has measured a steep 52% case surge.

It is important to note that while proven infections stand at 541 patients, there are likely at least 10 times more infected individuals in the county, experts agree.

Many people here and nationwide, are likely asymptomatic and experience the disease with no obvious signs, but are able to spread the highly contagious virus nonetheless.

Other individuals may not get tested or report their illness to doctors, preferring to ride out milder forms of the disease on their own.

The death toll for the county has increased by six over the last two weeks — a big jump after a 16-week stretch with no casualties and low numbers of hospitalizations.

For perspective, on June 23, the county’s sick roster numbered 177. On Friday, lab-confirmed cases had grown by 205.7%.

The county reports four patients as asymptomatic, meaning that while they do not show symptoms of COVID-19, they may still spread the disease.

County testing centers and doctors’ offices have administered 8,238 coronavirus tests, discovering a positive rate of 6.6%, statistics show. That rate was 5.6% for the county last week. The relatively high positive rate is likely due to the fact that the county has done far less testing than larger urban areas where positive rates compute much lower.

While 274 of the county’s patients are over 40, RCDHHS statistics show 257 are younger.

Statewide, 131,267 people have contracted COVID-19 and 2,092 have died.

Individuals who suspect they might be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call their primary care provider to discuss their symptoms so appropriate steps can be taken to protect themselves and others. Testing sites are available throughout the county.

For more information from the Rockingham County Health Dept., visit: www.rockinghamcountydhhs.org.

Susie C. Spear is Editor of RockinghamNow. She can be reached at 743-333-4101 and on Twitter @SusieSpear_RCN.

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