SPINDALE — Rutherford County recorded another death due to COVID-19 while amassing 36 new cases, reported Monday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The additional death brings the county’s total to 194, putting an end to a recent reprieve in coronavirus fatalities in Rutherford. Meanwhile, the state is closing in on 11,000 fatalities while the U.S. reaches the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths one year after the country’s first death from the disease.

COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward with fewer cases, deaths and hospitalizations reported. Health officials are concerned, however, new variants of the virus detected in the U.S. could lead to a surge.

Rutherford’s cumulative case total is at 6,676. Its 14-day positivity rate has declined to 7.9%.