RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than half of North Carolina’s counties still have the highest level of COVID-19 in their communities — and that’s an improvement from last week, federal data show.

A total of 52 counties were at high COVID levels according to weekly data updated Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — down from 68 counties last week.

While the CDC updated its data, it did not, as of early Thursday evening, update the color-coded map that is based on those numbers.

Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Harnett and Wayne counties were among those with the highest levels of the virus in the community.

Wake, Chatham and Orange counties were in the yellow zone with medium COVID levels. The 36 counties with medium viral levels was up from last week, when there were 30 — the fourth consecutive week with at least 30 of them.

The number of counties in the green zone with low levels climbed to 12 — there were just two last week — but none are in central North Carolina. 

As recently as Dec. 22, more than half of the state’s 100 counties were at that level, before holiday gatherings and fast-spreading omicron variants drove COVID levels higher across the state.

The CDC advises people in orange counties to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, including in K-12 schools and other community settings.

A county moves into the orange, high-level zone if it has more than 200 new cases per week for every 100,000 people who live there, and has either more than ten COVID-19 hospital admissions that week for every 100,000 people, or if 10 percent or more of the people in hospitals have COVID-19.