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The essentials...

Actionable + hyperlocal news to know:

COVID-19 cases in Wake County dropped to substantial community spread by CDC benchmarks for the first time in 18 weeks.

The CDC’s community transmission risk decreased again to about 97 cases per 100,000 people. This 7-day rate was 131 cases/100,000 people last week.

By dropping below 100 cases/100,000 people and a low positivity percentage for testing, community spread dropped from “high” to “substantial” community spread this week. [more explanation of the levels]

The state numbers for Wake County’s 14-day case rate decreased, is now at 120 cases per 100,000 people.

Last week the case rate was 203 cases per 100,000 people.

The percentage of tests that are positive in Wake County decreased to 3.1% this week from 5.1% last week, a 14-day metric.
Congregate living facility outbreaks decreased by four new outbreaks to 44 outbreaks in Wake County. Childcare and K-12 clusters stayed flat at 2 total clusters. Both are at childcare facilities.

More numbers, links + analysis: []

Raleigh Convergence has analyzed local-level data for Wake County for the last 97 weeks. [become a member to support hyperlocal journalism like this!]
Local coffee:
3 ways to sip local now
Raleigh has a great coffee scene. This week gives coffee enthusiasts three new ways to explore local roasters and visit new shops. 

☕ Jubala expands: Jubala's third location is now open. The new North Hills shop is open with a limited menu 7 a.m.-2 p.m. through Sunday for its preview week. Eventually, the location will have an extended menu.  

Seating indoors is available, including a warm wood panel enclave that's perfect for work or quieter conversation. 

Find it: The new Jubala faces Midtown Park, next to Vita Vite Midtown wine bar, 200 Park at N Hills St., Suite 140. Online ordering is also available.

Fiction Coffee, a coffee brand owned by Common Desk, chose Raleigh as its first expansion outside of Texas. Common Desk workspace will be opening at East End Market near Five Points at a later date.

Find it: Fiction Coffee is open now at 4509 Creedmoor Road, in Crabtree Terrace near the mall. Current hours are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

☕ Explore local coffee at Raleigh Roasts: The City of Raleigh Museum benefit is Saturday in Moore Square. Tickets currently remain for the 1 p.m. session.

The vendors include many local roasters with unique stories -- find them Saturday or explore these roasters on your own:

Slingshot Coffee, a Raleigh-based organic, single-origin cold brew coffee company that has grown to national distribution of even more products (like coffee sodas). 

Larry’s Coffee, a certified B Corporation roasting out of Five Points.

Pine State Coffee, a roaster and coffee shop that shares space with Runologie (they've also hosted Converging Stories!)

321 Coffee, a roaster and coffee shop founded by then-NC State students which now employs more than 30 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Blackology, a Black woman-owned cofe of black coffee through community engagement, coffee education, and the development of relationships."

Dilworth Coffee, a roaster of more than 30 years in Raleigh. 
Community news + ideas, quick:

🔔 A'Verde Cocina and Tequila Library, from chef Katsuji Tanabe, opens Friday night at 2300 Walnut Street, Cary. Expect Mexico City-style dishes with a twist on the menu. Those who missed the pageantry of Katsuji's first Raleigh concept, High Horse, can now experience throwing a frozen shot glass at a bell (for charity) outside A'Verde. [@averdemexican_cary]

☘️ Today is St. Patrick's Day. Here are a few ideas to celebrate: [RALToday]

🍴Cheetie Kumar of Raleigh's Garland is now a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast. Ricky Moore of Durham-based Saltbox Seafood Joint is also a finalist. [WRAL]

🍻 Bull City Ciderworks in Cary will have its grand opening Saturday. The cider bar, housed in a renovated historic building at 210 E. Chatham Street, is the latest location for the Durham-founded cidery. Besides its cider offerings, creative cider cocktails are on the menu. After the grand opening, the Cary location will be open every day but Monday. [website]

🌼 Art in Bloom begins: North Carolina Museum of Art's annual event of floral designs began Wednesday.

What it is: Floral designers interpret works of art in the museum's collection. Some designs are inspired by places.

How to go: General admission tickets are now sold out, but some events are still open, including lunchtime floral demonstrations, an opening party and virtual tours.

If you go: Grab a floral flight from Fullsteam, available 12-8 p.m. Saturday or Sunday. The “Tart in Bloom” floral-infused brews include Elderflower Ginger (with Norm’s Farms), Lychee Calendula and Rose Hibiscus (with Maple Spring Gardens).

Sip Art in Bloom: The Willard rooftop lounge in Downtown Raleigh created three inspired cocktails, available through Sunday.

Flowers of Costa Rica, by Steve Taras, Watered Garden Florist in Raleigh.
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. 
Thanks for reading this edition of the Raleigh Convergence!

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This is a maternity leave edition, publishing weekly on Thursdays. Read more in a previous column: []
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