Covid-19 Numbers: The weekly tri-county check-in

Statewide, North Carolina is seeing a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, surging over 8,000 reported in one day. just this week Let’s see how it’s affecting the tri-county region of southeastern NC. (Port City Daily/File)

SOUTHEASTERN NC—The numbers are coming in from the Thanksgiving holiday, and the tri-county area is reporting an increase in Covid-19 numbers.

It’s following a statewide trend, reported from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). A record number 8,444 cases were reported in one day this week.

According to North Carolina’s Covid-19 County Alert System, Brunswick and Pender counties are in the orange zones, showing substantial infection rates of Covid-19. New Hanover is yellow, equating significant infection rates. NCDHHS uses below metrics to determine zones:


• Case Rate: The number of new cases in 14 days per 100,000 people
• Percent Positive: The percent of tests that are positive over 14 days
• Hospital Impact: A composite score based on the impact that COVID-19 has had on hospitals including percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, COVID-19 related visits to the Emergency Department, staffed open hospital beds, and critical staffing shortages over 14 days

New Hanover County

New Hanover is reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases this week, with nine additional deaths bringing the county’s current death rate to 76 as of Dec. 18. The county is inching closer to having 10,000 cases since the pandemic began. As of Dec. 19, it has 8,821 — up 787 cases from last week.

Public health saw 100 or more cases reported on more than eight days in December so far. And just this week, New Hanover County broke its daily count record: 156 new cases on Tuesday and 198 on Thursday.

Currently, 1,645 are infected with Covid-19, most in the age ranges of 25 to 49 years. The New Hanover County Health Department is monitoring six outbreaks and three clusters.

Assistant health director Carla Turner encourages citizens to consider staying put for the holiday rather than traveling to visit family and in turn spreading the virus.

“The holiday season is all about showing how much we care about those around us and what you can do is take actions now and put protective measures in place to protect yourself, protect the people you love and protect this community,” she said in a press release. “The spread of COVID-19 can be slowed — it can be done, but one person is not going to do it. It takes a team … together we can make a difference.”

Brunswick County

Likewise, Brunswick County is seeing an increase in cases this week. In fact, its school board announced students would move into remote learning after holiday break, at least until Jan. 18, because of the uptick.

RELATED: As transmission reaches schools, Brunswick reverts to remote-only after winter break

Brunswick is reporting 9.1% of Covid-19 tests are coming back positive, which has decreased a little since Dec. 11’s 9.7% statistic. N.C Gov. Roy Cooper has said he’d like to see most counties below a 5% rate.

Around 669 people reported positive cases the first two weeks of December, with four new deaths happening this week.

“We are seeing our highest numbers of active cases since the pandemic began only three weeks after Thanksgiving,” health services director Cris Harrelson said in the weekly update. “With one week until Christmas, it is imperative that people remain home or take precautions seriously — especially face coverings or avoiding travel and gatherings if they are at a high risk for severe illness.”

As of Dec. 18, 3,871 people have tested positive, with 3,040 recovering. 721 people are currently isolating in 525 households.

Pender County

This week Pender County is reporting from 12,648 test samples: 10,147 are negative, while 1,961 residents and 343 correctional inmates are positive (197 are pending results).

The majority of cases are in the age ranges of 25 to 49 (957), with four hospitalizations and 20 associated deaths.

Pender also breaks down its cities and towns by infection rate, which are as follows:

Atkinson: 54
Burgaw: 351
Currie: 102
Hampstead: 729
Ivanhoe: 14
Maple Hill: 15
Rocky Point: 399
Surf City: 49
Topsail Beach: 9
Wallace: 26
Watha/Willard: 168
Wilmington (Pender): 42

New Hanover Regional Medical Center

NHRMC serves a seven-county region, so numbers presented below are not just representative of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

Hospitalizations at New Hanover Regional Medical Center are up 111 patients from last week, averaging around 50 a day. A total of 996 patients have been admitted since spring, with 818 discharged and 141 deaths.


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