The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Monday updated the COVID-19 County Alert System.
The latest map shows 27 counties are currently in the red - a decrease from 61 red counties on the previous report.
That's the fewest number of red counties in the state since the start of the County Alert System.
"With North Carolinians continuing to follow the 3Ws and more than one million people in the state having received at least a first dose of vaccine, we are slowing the spread and saving lives," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. "Let's keep it up."
The update also lists 40 orange counties and 33 yellow counties - both changes from 33 orange counties and 6 yellow counties on Feb 4.
NCDHHS said in a news release that, although North Carolina's key metrics remain high, they are moving in a positive direction with decreasing trends in numbers of COVID-19 cases reported each day, people being hospitalized with COVID-19, people in the intensive care unit and the percent of tests that are positive.
Health officials said people in all counties should continue to limit public interactions to essential activities, avoid gathering with others from outside their household and continue adhering to the 3Ws.
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Red and orange counties need to do even more to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities; it is strongly recommended these counties go further and build upon current requirements outlined in the County Alert System.
The COVID-19 County Alert System uses COVID-19 case rates, the percent of tests that are positive and hospital impact within the county to categorize counties into the following tiers:
Yellow: Significant Community Spread
Orange: Substantial Community Spread
Red: Critical Community Spread
North Carolina's latest county alert map shows 27 counties in the red as trends move in the right direction