RANDOLPH COUNTY — At a Randolph County Board of Health meeting this week, the board was informed of several dismal numbers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local vaccination rates have crept up slowly, but the number of those infected — and dying — from the virus has been escalating at a much higher rate in the last six-to-eight weeks. As of Monday, 40% of Randolph County residents had received a first dose of the vaccine. A total of 37% of residents in the county were fully vaccinated, according to Randolph County Health Director Tara Aker.

This compares to the 33.1% of the population living in the county who were vaccinated and 31% of the population has had at least one dose as of July 12.

Unfortunately, the rates of infection have continued to rise with the resurgence of the delta variant. As of Sept. 13, the county has recorded 18,765 positive cases of COVID-19 since March 2020.

“Around the time we met in July, we were seeing 20 to 30 new cases a week,” Aker said. “Now we’re seeing 500 to 600 cases a week. At our July 12 meeting, we reported 232 deaths. We’re two months out from that. As of the end of the day today, we’re at 274 deaths, so we’ve had 42 deaths in two months.”

In July, zero outbreaks in congregate living settings were reported. On Monday, Aker reported a total of eight outbreaks in long-term care facilities and one in Randolph County Detention Center.

“They’re still diligently working to test every inmate or detainee that comes into that facility, and they’re separating those inmates until they know a test result,” Aker said. “They’re usually trying to quarantine those folks for 14 days just so that they do not introduce COVID into the general population.”

Lines for testing at Randolph Community College on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are tremendously long, Aker said. Drive-thru testing was opened at the Randolph County Health Department this week to alleviate some of that traffic for those who wish to receive the vaccine.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.