CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County's CDC Community Level was upgraded to high Friday due to the continued increase in positive cases in the county.

County health officials say the rise in cases has added to the strain on health care resources. They urged residents to consider masking while indoors in public places, and advised the vulnerable to avoid public places altogether.

"At this highest Community Level, we all must take steps to slow the spread and use the effective tools we have available: get up to date with your vaccines, stay home if you’re not feeling well and test, and meet outdoors when possible,” Mecklenburg Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington said in the news release.

Related: COVID numbers up again in N.C. with BA.5 variant

The omicron BA.5 variant, which is more contagious and resistant to vaccines, accounts for most of the positive COVID-19 cases in the county, as well as across the nation, health officials said.

A high, or orange, status of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Community Level indicates that local health resources have become burdened. The COVID Community Level is based on positive cases, and hospital admissions and resources.

Wastewater monitoring from July 8 to July 21, the latest data available, showed high transmission of COVID in the county, with the virus found in more than 60% of samples.


Across the state, 32,156 cases were reported for the week that ended Saturday, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Mecklenburg reported 7,532 cases for July 8-21, a 10% increase from the previous two-week period, according to the county's website.