The State of North Carolina’s daily COVID-19 reports are looking better and better while the state is still mostly locked down.

For one year, the pandemic has been the dominant force in the daily lives of people in Guilford County and North Carolina – and the country and the world, for that matter.  But now, while the coronavirus remains a threat, the state’s daily disease and death counts show progress, and the disease’s grip on the psyches of North Carolinians is beginning to wane.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the state released the daily virus report that shows a continuing decline in cases as more vaccines go into arms and the weather heats up. 

On Thursday, there were only 3,351 newly reported cases with 1,498 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals across North Carolina. 

Those numbers look a lot rosier than they did even a few weeks ago.  On Friday, Jan. 28, there were 6,959 newly reported cases in the state. (A few days later, that number shot up to over 10,000, though that was a statistical anomaly resulting from a lot of overlooked information coming in on one day.)

Also, on January 28, there were 2,888 people in the hospital due to COIVID-19 – about twice as many as there are currently.

By any metric used, the situation is a lot better across the state.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)  has a “COVID-19 County Alert System,” which this week showed 27 counties in the red, denoting “critical community spread.”  That’s a decrease from 61 counties in the red at the start of this month.  In fact, it’s the fewest red counties in the state’s alert system since that system went into use last year.

Things are improving so much that state officials, while encouraging people to maintain their guard against the disease, are acknowledging the dramatic improvement while Governor Roy Cooper is only making incremental moves toward reopening the state.  Despite the much improved metrics restaurants and retail businesses are under nearly the same restrictions as they have been for months.  Cooper is allowing alcohol sales until 11 p.m. relaxing the previous 9 p.m. cut off, but the capacity limit remains at 50 percent of legal occupancy.