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The essentials...

Actionable + hyperlocal news to know:

COVID-19 case rates in Wake County decreased week-over-week for the second week in a row.

While the numbers are still high, it could mean that the Omicron variant has peaked locally, a trend seen in other communities across the U.S.

The CDC’s community transmission risk for Wake County is still higher than it was 4 weeks ago but decreased to 1,371 cases per 100,000 people. This 7-day rate was 2,131 cases/100,000 people last week.

The state numbers for Wake County’s 14-day case rate decreased, is now at 3,208 cases per 100,000 people. Last week the case rate was 4,691 cases per 100,000 people.
The percentage of tests that are positive in Wake County stayed flat at 25% from last week, a 14-day metric.

Congregate living facilities, however, which include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, continue to see increases of outbreaks. The total number of outbreaks in Wake County increased by 5 since last week, a total of 57 outbreaks. This is considered a lagging, or later, indicator of community spread.

Digging into the numbers:
The CDC’s 7-day case rate over the past few weeks:
📉Current rate: 1,371 cases per 100,000 people.

📉Last week: 2,131 cases per 100,000 people.
📈Two weeks ago: 2,848 cases per 100,000 people.
📈Three weeks ago: 2,655 cases per 100,000 people.
📈Four weeks ago: 979 cases per 100,000 people.

📊 More numbers, links + analysis: []

Raleigh Convergence has analyzed local-level data for Wake County for the last 91 weeks. [become a member to support hyperlocal journalism like this!]

More resources:

😷 Free N95 masks through Wake Co. Public Health are still available, but supplies are limited. Check this site (and scroll down) for current locations for masks distribution. 
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From the editor: Practicing what I preach
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about rest.

I wrote that its not just a personal imperative, but a community issue. But I mentioned that I'm not great about learning to rest.

This last week offered me that opportunity to step into rest. 
If you're a parent or caregiver, you're probably aware of how many colds tiny humans can get on a usual year. Add in a pandemic, and an ordinary cold could mean something more.

So in less than three weeks, my 3-year-old has had two PCR tests. While he didn't know what was coming the first time, he definitely did Monday when I administered his test in the CVS drive-thru. As we waited on results both times, I prayed that it was negative, and that whatever cold he got didn't catch with my newborn. 

Fortunately, both were negative. So was mine, with whatever bug I caught.

To be honest, I feel like I've been through the ringer, especially this last week. I decided to rest, rather than hustle. This week, I paused on the essays and just delivered the important hyperlocal COVID numbers. 

So while there's no new future of Raleigh essay this week, you can catch up here. And, bonus, I've asked a few more people to share their perspectives, which will be published through the end of February! Look for those starting soon.

Thanks for offering me grace, and I hope you do the same for yourself. --Sarah Day 
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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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