New local COVID cases decreased dramatically over the past week, Twin Counties health directors reported this week.

Nash County Health Director Bill Hill said Tuesday during a meeting of the Nash County COVID Response Team that 130 new cases of COVID were reported over the past week in Nash County. That number is a marked decrease from the 215 cases reported last Tuesday.

“These numbers are steadily going down,” Hill said. “We are continuing to move in the right direction. I am pleased to report that we are on a decline.”

Hill noted that a little over a month ago, on Sept. 14, Nash County reported 490 cases in one week. After that peak in the most recent surge, the number of new COVID cases have steadily declined with this week’s numbers dropping below 200 for the first time in many weeks.

Edgecombe County also reported significantly fewer new virus cases this week. Edgecombe County health officials reported Wednesday a cumulative total of 7,848 cases of COVID. That is 77 cases higher than the number reported the week before.

By comparison, Edgecombe County reported 111 new positive cases of COVID last week.

Both counties reported significant changes in the COVID death tolls this week.

Hill had bad news to report as five new COVID-related deaths were reported this week in Nash County. Deaths are still skewing toward older adults with two of the deaths reported in patients in their 90s, two reported in patients in their 60s and one reported in a person in the 50-59 age range.

In three of these recent cases, the person died at home while two deaths were reported among patients at Nash UNC Health Care, Hill said. The total number of COVID-related deaths in Nash County now stands at 227.

According to information reported by the Edgecombe County Health Department, the COVID death toll in that county has actually decreased.

Thomas Stebner, coordinator of health services for the Edgecombe County Health Department, reported Wednesday that the county’s death toll had dropped by four. During recent months, the state-reported death toll for the county has been lower than the county-reported death toll. The Telegram has been reporting information provided by the county as it is generally more accurate than state data when the county data is available.

However, Stebner said that the county has discovered the reason for the difference in reporting.

“We went back through our COVID-19 death data as it was not matching the state’s numbers and found four cases that were classified as COVID-19 deaths at the beginning of the pandemic that had been reclassified to other causes. These cases were all in long-term care facilities. The county and state numbers now match,” Stebner said.

That current corrected number of Edgecombe County COVID-related deaths now stands at 124.

COVID-related hospitalizations remain steady from last week, though the overall illness in the patients has improved. Hill said Tuesday that 16 patients are hospitalized at Nash UNC Health Care for COVID complications.

That number is slightly higher than last week’s number but less than half of the number of patients reported a month ago, Hill said. He also noted that none of the patients are under intensive care.

Hill also said that one of the 16 patients has been fully vaccinated while the rest were unvaccinated.

Stebner reported Wednesday that three patients are hospitalized for COVID complications at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, down one from the four hospitalizations reported last week.