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MONROE — Union County became a topic of discussion on Tuesday (Dec. 7) when State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen spoke to state lawmakers about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Cohen took questions and discussed concerns during the gathering in Raleigh. State Senator Todd Johnson, who represents Union County, brought up the topic of masks in schools. Johnson pointed out that masks have been optional in Union County Public Schools throughout this school year, and stated the metrics have been comparable to the state’s counties that have mandated masks.

Cohen responded: “Their% positive was 10%. Any way you cut these metrics, Union County is not doing well. And I think it’s because folks are not using the tools.”

Nearly 19,000 residents of North Carolina have died from COVID-19 in less than two years, and conditions are getting worse based on statistics provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Nov. 8, the state had 1,103 new COVID-19 cases confirmed; a month later, the number of new cases in the state has more than tripled, according to DHHS.

New COVID cases in N.C. rose to 4,153 on Thursday (Dec. 9), followed up by a report of 3,606 new cases on Friday, per DHHS. Since the highly-transmissible virus reached North Carolina in 2020, DHHS reports there have been more than 1.5 million (1,566,269) N.C. residents infected.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have also been on the rise. A month ago, on Nov. 10, there were 1,082 COVID-related hospitalizations in the state, compared to 1,493 on Dec. 10. There have now been 18,976 confirmed COVID-related deaths in N.C., according to DHHS.

Roughly 69% of the adult population in North Carolina has been fully vaccinated, and about 73% has been at least partially vaccinated, according to DHHS.

The percentage of the state’s residents testing positive for COVID as of Friday is at 7.4, DHHS reports.

Union County Government’s dashboard reports a County-wide positivity rate of 9%, as of Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. Union County’s had 39,021 cumulative cases of COVID-19, per the UC Government’s dashboard, and there have been 374 confirmed deaths among a County of roughly 250,000.

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