Fewer than 20,000 people in North Carolina currently have confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) data and the number is trending down.

The number being reported by NCDHHS and most media outlets is 136,844 positive cases, but that is the total number of confirmed cases since March. It is a running total and can never go down – it only goes up.

But on Mondays, the NCDHHS also releases the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered. The number of people who tested positive who have recovered is 116,969. The number of people in the state who are listed as having died from COVID-19 is 2,172, which means according to the NCDHHS the number of people who have tested positive and still have active cases of COVID-19 in the state is 17,703.

The NCDHHS data also show that with the number of new positive tests going down and the number of recoveries going up, the number of active COVID-19 cases is continuing down. Each week since July 20 there have been fewer active COVID-19 cases in the state. This data can only be reported by week because NCDHHS reports the number of COVID-19 recoveries on Mondays, unlike the number of new positive cases that are reported daily.

On July 20, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the state was 20,697, and on Aug. 10 the total active cases was 17,703, which is a drop of 2,994 in the number of active cases. The total number of active cases has been decreasing each week.

Of those 2,172 deaths, 1,231 have been people over 75, 489 have been people between 65 and 74, 338 deaths of people between 50 and 64, 110 deaths of people between 25 and 49, and 0 under the age of 25.

Since July 31, the seven-day average trend line of the number of new cases being reported has taken a sharp downward turn.

On Monday, Aug. 10, there were 626 new positive test results reported, which is lowest number since June 2. The number of tests was also down, which is a factor, but fewer tests were given on Aug. 4 and there were 1,629 confirmed positive tests.

One number that has not gone down is the number of hospitalizations, which since July 20 has held steady at about 1,100. However, as the secretary of NCDHHS explains, that is lagging indicator and with the number of active cases dropping the number of hospitalizations should start dropping also.

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Gov. Roy Cooper said that North Carolina would stay in Phase 2 of the reopening process until at least Sept. 11 because the numbers had not improved enough to further reopen the economy. Since then the numbers have shown much improvement.