The number of Lee County residents who have tested positive for COVID jumped by 253 in the past week, and six new deaths from the disease were reported on Monday, according to the Lee County Health Department.

The six new deaths were in addition to the four reported over the weekend. Fifty six Lee County residents have now died from COVID-19.

“The reported COVID-19 deaths today in Lee County are a sad reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Lee County Health Director Heath Cain. “Please keep the family and friends of the individuals who passed away in your thoughts and prayers and join us in offering our sincere condolences during this difficult time.”

The county doesn’t release details about patients who have tested positive in accordance with federal health privacy laws. Two of the deaths occurred at Central Carolina Hospital. CCH reported 11 other individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID.

The 253 new cases reported Monday bring the total number of county residents who have tested positive to 4,682. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID dashboard, the current rolling seven day average for new cases in Lee County is 35.14, and the percent positivity rate is 14.2. Both numbers, while high, continue a significant downward trend from recent weeks.

The Lee County Health Department is currently registering individuals for the COVID-19 vaccine in Groups 1 and Group 2 of the NCDHHS vaccine rollout plan that was updated on January 14. This includes essential healthcare workers fighting COVID-19, long-term care facility staff and residents, and adults age 65 and older. The complete NCDHHS rollout plan may be found at

The Health Department has two dedicated phone lines for vaccine registration, (919) 721-4769 and (984) 368-2112. The lines are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Due to high call volume, individuals may need to call multiple times to reach a staff member to initiate registration.  The Health Department has also added a pre-registration form available online at Individuals that submit a pre-registration form AND are eligible under Group 1 and 2 of the rollout plan may expect to receive a call from the Health Department within five business days to complete the registration process and receive information about the next available vaccine clinic.