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The essentials...

Actionable + hyperlocal news to know:

COVID-19 case rates in Wake County dropped again this week, though less significantly than last week.

The context: This is the fourth week case rates have decreased and the second week that the percentage of tests that are positive decreased.

While the numbers overall are still high in Wake County, it gives greater confidence that Omicron variant has peaked locally, a trend seen in other communities across the U.S.

The CDC’s community transmission risk decreased again to about 514 cases per 100,000 people. This 7-day rate was 740 cases/100,000 people last week. This case rate is still considered high. (community transmission risk levels, explained)

The state numbers for Wake County’s 14-day case rate decreased, is now at 1,031 cases per 100,000 people. Last week the case rate was 1,855 cases per 100,000 people.

The percentage of tests that are positive in Wake County decreased to 14.3% this week from 19% last week, a 14-day metric.

Congregate living facility outbreaks increased by one new outbreak to 58 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 stayed flat at 11 clusters.

Deaths from COVID-19 are about to reach a grim milestone — 999 people in Wake County have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to state numbers.

📊 More numbers, links + analysis: []

Raleigh Convergence has analyzed local-level data for Wake County for the last 93 weeks. [become a member to support hyperlocal journalism like this!]

More essential news:

😷 Masks mandate recommendations are expected to be addressed by Gov. Roy Cooper in a briefing at 3 p.m. today. [News & Observer]

✍🏽Newly drawn maps: While state lawmakers are redrawing legislative and Congressional district maps by a Friday deadline, redistricting decisions are happening soon on a local level, too.

Raleigh city council members selected a map, from three options, which redraws district lines based on the 2020 Census. The public hearing will be March 1. [
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What's next:
How should Raleigh Convergence serve our community? It’s time for the annual Raleigh Convergence Community Survey, and I need your help in charting the course for what’s next.

This year’s survey asks you about who you are and what you want Raleigh Convergence to be going forward.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been inspired by the 2022 ideas from community members to think big and collectively about making an impact.
We're at an important point in our growth as a community. We're considering our "new normal" after nearly two years in a pandemic.

Things have also changed for me personally since Raleigh Convergence launched nearly three years ago, especially after I became a parent to two children. Knowing what will be most valuable to you is important to me. 

Please take a few minutes to respond between now and end of day Feb. 24.

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

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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