Lincoln County has come a long way from the first positive case of COVID-19 was announced in March. The first COVID death was reported in Lincoln County on June 17. Fast forward a little over eight months and Lincoln County has had more than 3,400 confirmed COVID cases and 30 deaths, according to the most recent press release issued by the Lincoln County Health Department. The bulk of the cases (60%) have been in the central Lincoln area, with 24% being from the eastern side of the county and 16% on the western side.
The City of Lincolnton held a public forum on Nov. 5 in an attempt to find a solution to the rising numbers within city limits, but that didn’t result in what council members and the mayor were looking for. There is a stark disunion between those who refuse to wear a mask at all or properly and those who follow CDC guidelines. Gone are the days of “we are all in this together.”
The largest age demographic of positive cases is the 25-49 age group (37%), 50-64 represent 24% of the cases, 65+, 16%, 18-24 12% and 0-17, 11%. The ages of those who passed away from COVID has not been regularly released by the Health Department. Of those 27 deaths, however, only nine were in congregate living facilities, according to the most recent press release from Lincoln County.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services breaks cases down by ethnicity. According to the most recent report (Nov. 30), 85% of the positive cases in Lincoln County were white, 52% were female and 48% were male.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services rolled out a COVID-19 County Alert System. When it was first released the beginning of November, Lincoln County was in the yellow zone meaning there was significant community spread. With the second release two weeks later, the county is now in the orange zone indicating substantial community spread. Adjoining Catawba and Gaston Counties are both in the red zone.
To be assigned to the red or orange tier, according to a press release issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, a county must meet the threshold for case rates for that tier and the threshold for either percent positive or hospital impact.
- Case Rate – the number of new cases in 14 days per 100,000 people
- Percent Positive – the percent of tests that are positive over 14 days
- Hospital Impact – a composite score based on the impact
Those counties in the orange tier have an 8-10% percent positive test rate. While percent positive and hospitalization data is readily available to the public in adjoining counties, this information has not been readily forthcoming from Lincoln County.
Both Lincoln County Schools and Lincoln Charter School continue to operate under Plan A for elementary school students and Plan B for middle and high school students. Except for Iron Station Elementary, which was shut down for two weeks due to a COVID cluster on Aug. 19 no other schools have had to close due to clusters.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement which went into effect on Nov. 25 running through Dec. 11. Basically, this latest executive order indicated that everyone has to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. It added mask requirements in any public indoor space even when maintaining six feet of distance, gyms even when exercising, all schools public and private and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household. As has been the case with past mask requirements, this is not being enforced by law enforcement in Lincoln County. This was confirmed by Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam. Lincolnton Police Department Chief Rodney Jordan didn’t respond to a request for confirmation.