RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of North Carolina counties in the CDC’s orange zone with the highest community level of COVID-19 has more than doubled in a week. The CDC recommends everyone in the orange counties wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including K-12 schools and other community settings.

The map updated Thursday night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 41 counties colored orange — more than 10 times as many as there were just two weeks ago.

There were just four orange counties on June 30. The jump to 18 last week was the first weekly increase in more than a month.

Another 40 counties were yellow with a medium level of COVID spread, meaning more than four of five counties in the state were at one of the highest two levels. That includes every county in central North Carolina.

Nearly 85 percent of the state's population of 10.4 million people lives in a county that's either orange or yellow, with 28 percent of them living in orange counties.

The counties in the area colored orange are:

  • Alamance County
  • Durham County
  • Forsyth County
  • Granville County
  • Harnett County
  • Jones County
  • Martin County
  • Northampton County
  • Pasquotank County
  • Pitt County
  • Polk County
  • Stokes County
  • Washington County
  • Beaufort County
  • Carteret County
  • Chowan County
  • Edgecombe County
  • Halifax County
  • Hoke County
  • Hyde County
  • Lee County
  • Nash County
  • Onslow County
  • Perquimans County
  • Person County
  • Richmond County
  • Surry County
  • Tyrrell County
  • Warren County
  • Yadkin County
  • Craven County
  • Dare County
  • Davie County
  • Orange County
  • Vance County
  • Camden County
  • Chatham County
  • Hertford County
  • Montgomery County
  • Moore County
  • Pamlico County

There were 17 counties where that case rate is 300 or higher — led by Graham County, where it was at nearly 557 for every 100,000 residents.