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The essentials...

Actionable + hyperlocal news to know:

COVID-19 case rates in Wake County continue to drop but remain high by CDC benchmarks.

The context: Local mask mandates lifted Friday, but the CDC still recommends masks indoors in areas of high community transmission, which includes Wake County.
This is the sixth week that case rates have decreased and the fourth week that the percentage of tests that are positive decreased.

The CDC’s community transmission risk decreased again to about 183 cases per 100,000 people. This 7-day rate was 234 cases/100,000 people last week. This case rate is still considered high. [more on the numbers]
The state numbers for Wake County’s 14-day case rate decreased, is now at 353 cases per 100,000 people. Last week the case rate was 598 cases per 100,000 people.

The percentage of tests that are positive in Wake County decreased to 7.3% this week from 10.5% last week, a 14-day metric.

Congregate living facility outbreaks decreased by four new outbreaks to 50 outbreaks in Wake County. These outbreak sites include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is considered a lagging, or later, indicator of community spread.

Childcare and K-12 clusters increased by 2, to 8 total clusters.

📊 More numbers, links + analysis: []

Raleigh Convergence has analyzed local-level data for Wake County for the last 95 weeks. [become a member to support hyperlocal journalism like this!]
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Local idea: 
Blush Cowork centers women, including on-site childcare

A women-focused coworking space with childcare on site opened this week in Cary. Blush Cowork co-founder and managing partner Alison Rogers said the coworking concept fills a need for women and mothers.

Why it matters: Women are disproportionately effected by the pandemic. Many women dropped out of the workforce because of caregiving needs.

“We lived that,” Alison said, who is a mom herself. Now is an important moment to support women, she said.

The big picture: Women are also more likely to prefer the flexibility of remote work, according to a May study reported by Axios.

Blush Cowork aims to provide collaboration and community for women with the flexibility of childcare.

Alison also said she hopes the coworking space catalyzes women-founded ventures. 

👩🏾‍💻 How it works: Keep reading for details on membership, childcare cost + more: []

Survey extended!

Our Raleigh Convergence Community Survey is key to knowing what you want to see from a local media company.

We haven't heard from enough folks yet, so we're extending the end of the survey until 10 a.m. Monday (March 7)!
We're at an important point in our growth as a community and as an organization. Your feedback and insights matter!

Have other thoughts that don’t fit? Reply or email me at directly.

🧘🏻‍♀️Dose Yoga + Smoothie Bar is now open in Downtown Raleigh's Smoky Hollow development. The yoga and smoothie bar from founder and yoga teacher Emily Wallace will offer free classes today and Friday while spaces last.
  • The Dose Elixir Bar will offer "adaptogenic and protein smoothies, smoothie bowls and wellness lattes."
  • Classes will include hot yoga and warm yoga. Wellness events mentioned include sound baths, crystal meditation and more. 
  • Amenities include showers, lockers and space to hang out after class at the elixir bar.
🖼️ House of Art pop-up bar and "interactive social museum" recently opened in the historic house at 306 E. Hargett Street near Moore Square in Downtown Raleigh. The Instagrammable rooms feature installation art such as glowing clouds and neon. Open Thursday-Saturday nights, reservations recommended.

🏗️ What's coming to North Hills? The N&O has the details on what will go in the former JC Penney location, a mixed-use development which includes a RH Gallery, a Restoration Hardware concept with a rooftop bar and restaurant. [News & Observer]

📚Wake Tech, for free: Students who graduate from high school in state can attend Wake Tech tuition- and fees-free beginning with the fall semester. [announcement]

🍍Pineapple Sol opens Saturday in Cary's Waverly Place. WRAL has details on the menu

💭Dreamville Festival announced its 2022 musical lineup Wednesday. The festival from NC native and artist J. Cole will be back at Dorothea Dix Park on April 2-3. The lineup includes a performance by J. Cole, Lil Baby, Kehlani, T. Pain, and a "first-ever performance by DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz with Lil Wayne," according to INDY Week. 🎵
Raleigh jobs: 

Post a job for $30 on our jobs board + for inclusion in this section. [post]

Submissions must be received by 8 a.m. Monday to run the following Thursday. 
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This is a maternity leave edition, publishing weekly on Thursdays. Read more in a previous column: []
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