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Beginning today, the Halifax County Health Department will be reporting statistics and graphs on the novel coronavirus pandemic weekly.

“The dramatic increase in testing throughout the state has made it necessary to rely on the state totals as multiple entities now report positive test results to the state,” health Director Bruce Robistow said this evening. “I regret the inability to report as we have been doing since this pandemic started. As time progresses the state report will be able to be tailored in a manner that will resemble our previous report.”

What this means, the department said in a statement, is that until a time the county can tailor its reports it will no longer be able to accurately report on the number of pending tests, known negative test results and confirmed tests performed in the county.

What is known as of this report the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting on its COVID-19 dashboard there are 668 cases in Halifax County.

Its ZIP code map database reports there are six deaths in the county as was previously reported by the health department. There have been five related deaths within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code and one within the Weldon area ZIP code.

New in the report are graphs of cases by date of earliest illness identification and race and ethnicity. There is also one charting the percent positive by electronic lab reporting.

The ELR chart shows the percent of positive tests as a proportion of total ELR tests. “We know that as testing increases, the number of cases can climb,” Robistow said. “This gives us an idea of the number of cases with respect to the amount of testing being done. These are only calculated using results from labs that report to the state. Although testing shows a dramatic increase, our percent positives have declined for this week.”

The county’s statistics peaked for the week of July 25 and the numbers for the past week have declined, Robistow said.

While there has been a decline, Robistow continues to encourage county residents to practice the three Ws — waiting six feet apart, wearing a face covering and washing and disinfecting hands frequently. “Doing so can make a huge difference in your health and the health of others. Improving your compliance with the three Ws now, will both better educate children as to how to practice them and also provide a safer community for when school starts. Please take this opportunity to protect our children and each other very seriously.”