WENTWORTH — The number of reported COVID-19 infections in Rockingham County surged by 34.4% over the past week, county staistics show.

On June 23, the county of nearly 91,000 had tallied 177 cases of the coronavirus, and by Tuesday the figure had climbed to 238, paralleling increasing infection rates seen statewide and across the nation.

In North Carolina, confirmed cases rose 11% between Friday and Tuesday — a jump from 57,183 to 63,484.

And Hispanic and Latino county residents continue to account for a disproportionately high number of the county’s cases, making up 34% of the total, or 81 cases in a county where they represent only 6.3% of the population.

Yet, amid the rise in cases, Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page announced on Friday that he will not enforce Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order requiring citizens to wear masks in public.

Page announced on Friday that he won’t enforce crowd limits on wedding receptions, despite the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ opinion that such events should be limited.

While the state doesn’t limit the number of people who can attend a wedding or funeral, it doesn’t list receptions as part of the exemption to its mass-gathering limits.

The state allows no more than 10 people to gather together indoors and no more than 25 to congregate outdoors, as part of the Phase Two reopening plan.

Cooper’s mask order went into effect on Friday at 5 p.m.

Of the 238 COVID-19 cases known in the county, Rockingham County Department of Health and Human Services reports 214 have recovered, six are hospitalized and 15 are asymptomatic.meaning they show no obvious signs of the coronavirus but are able to spread the disease to others.

This week’s COVID-19 tallies for Rockingham, a county of about 91,000, show 177 patients have recovered. Meanwhile, five patients remain hospitalized and 13 are asymptomatic, meaning they show no obvious signs of the coronavirus but are able to spread the disease to others.

Two of the county’s 201 known positive patients, both over 60 and with compromised immune systems, have died since the start of the pandemic.

Countywide testing has been steady over the past month with drive-up locations in western Rockingham County at the Madison-Mayodan Public Library, at Eden Drug and at a Cone Health-sponsored site opposite Annie Penn Hospital on Reidsville’s Main Street, as well as at JAHC and numerous other clinics.

RCDHHS has nine staffers working as contact tracers, trying to locate and notify all individuals who may have come in contact with those infected with COVID-19.

Thus far, 590 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the county. The state reported 63,484 confirmed virus cases on Friday and 1,325 deaths. Nearly equal numbers of men and women have tested positive in Rockingham County. And 125 of the patients are 40 or older, while 111 are 39 or younger.

Susie C. Spear is a staff writer for RockinghamNow. She can be reached at 743-333-4101 and on Twitter @SusieSpear_RCN.

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