The numbers for local residents just keep getting worse according to local, state and national data. That information shows Montgomery County’s being number six in the state for the number of cases on a per capita basis. Additionally, national data show Montgomery County as one of only eight counties in the state that is experiencing a sharp increase in daily cases. Those numbers are alarming to local officials, including Montgomery County Health Director Mary Perez-Baldwin who stated, “As Montgomery County faces an increasing number of COVID 19 confirmed cases I would like to reiterate the importance of wearing a mask not only to protect oneself but others as well. Masks act as a physical barrier to protect you and others.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated,  ‘We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. What this means is that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity while they are speaking, coughing, or sneezing even if people are not exhibiting symptoms. Due to this evidence the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores, shopping venues, pharmacies etc.,) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.’  Masks act as a physical barrier to protect you and others.”

As of yesterday there was a total of 459 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county that have been identified. The county has tested 824 individuals at the mobile testing sites, with approximately 90 of those testing positive, according to Emergency Management Director Robbie Smith, who is assisting at the sites every day. Noting the particularly high numbers in Biscoe, Candor and Eagle Springs, Smith said the state has promised to help with the testing in those areas.

Currently the county is receiving 200 test kits a week from the state; however, county officials have been notified that number is going to be cut to 20 tests kits a week. Noting they will quickly run out of test kits, Smith said the lab has agreed to continue to process the county’s tests if they can secure the proper items, such as buffered saline, swabs and test tubes. Smith was actively searching to secure those items yesterday.

Autumn Care has also had another patient to test positive for the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic six residents and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. This new resident brings the total to seven. One resident has died from the virus. Last Wednesday, workers said all but one of their residents had recovered.

The overwhelming number of cases is in the Hispanic community. Officials planned a meeting for last Wednesday with pastors from that community; however, the pastors canceled at the last minute after one of them became ill. The county is working to get the word out to all people, but in particular, that community, to slow the spread. County officials are also encouraging local businesses to require that masks be worn inside their businesses in the same manner that shirts and shoes are required.

Statewide, Montgomery County is showing a positivity rate of 150 per 10,000 residents. The county is also showing a 29.4% increase in daily cases per 10,000 residents on the national map. That map has Montgomery County as only one of eight North Carolina counties in the red. The red designation, which is the highest designation, indicates that a stay-at-home order is necessary and that the county is at a tipping point.

Counties in the state showing a higher number of cases on a per capita basis include Duplin, Sampson, Wayne Granville and Lee.