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The Halifax County Health Department today reported a new death related to COVID-19 along with a surge in new positives and a nearly 3.5 percent increase in the percentage of positive cases.

The latest death related to the virus brings the total to 116, the health department reported and there have been 58 new positive cases added since last week’s report.

Since March of last year there have now been 5,787 positive cases. There have been 5,583 recoveries — 96.69 percent — and there are currently 75 active patients — 1.3 percent.

The percentage of positive cases from last week’s report went from 2.7 percent to 6 percent, the health department reported.

Health Director Bruce Robistow said today the rebound in cases “is a reflection of the virus mutating and the Delta variant becoming the primary variant at this time.”

Robistow said the Delta variant is much different from the previous variant in that “it is twice as contagious and is targeting unvaccinated people. The only way to stop this virus from mutating further is to reach herd immunity in regard to getting the COVID vaccine. Not reaching herd immunity will allow COVID-19 to continue to mutate, become more powerful, more contagious and more difficult to combat.”

Continuing in the current direction could result in new executive orders and restrictions similar to last year, the health director said. “I strongly recommend everyone getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Simply put, Robistow said the Delta variant came from the virus mutating. “By many people getting vaccinated we were able to beat down COVID allowing us to return to levels of normalcy as enjoyed in the last couple of months. But because we did not reach herd immunity the virus was able to take advantage of the downtime and mutate to a stronger variant.”

The health director compared the affects of the mutation to a doctor who instructs a patient to take all the antibiotics prescribed to them but after the patient begins to feel better they discontinue taking the medicine, which, he said, allows the bacteria to build a resistance to the antibiotic.

Total number of positives by ZIP code beginning March 25, 2020 through today:  

Enfield (27823) – 818 cases

Halifax (27839) – 275 cases 

Hobgood (27843) – 126 cases 

Hollister (27844) – 287 cases

Littleton (27850) – 487 cases 

Roanoke Rapids (27870) – 3,094 cases 

Scotland Neck (27874) – 463 cases

Weldon (27890) – 251 cases

Cases by Date of Earliest Illness Identification and Race/Ethnicity 

The numbers for the past week increased.

Percent Positive of COVID 19 Cases

The percent positives have increased over the past week with an average of 6 percent as of Monday.

Cases by Date of Earliest Illness Identification and Age  

Ages 25-49 represent the largest age groups who have tested positive this past week.

Cases by Data of Earliest Illness Identification and Congregate Living Setting Association

The numbers for the past week increased.

Halifax County Vaccination Status

21,343 people at least partially vaccinated — 43 percent of the population 

19,760 people fully vaccinated — 40 percent of the population