SOUTHEASTERN NC — Over the last seven days across North Carolina, more than 60,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported with more than 500 deaths. Just on Saturday, Jan. 16, the state marked 7,986 cases and 83 deaths.
Though Gov. Roy Cooper — in line with the federal government and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations — has opened up vaccinations this week to include all people 65 and older, as well as frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facility workers, supply is still trickling in slowly as case numbers rise week by week.
According to the Jan. 13 update on the NC Department of Health and Human Services dashboard, 238,344 North Carolinians have received at least one dose, with 44,271 receiving the series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine (the vaccines must be given in a series of two shots three or four weeks apart). More people are eagerly awaiting vaccination, but health departments and vaccination partners statewide quickly are filling appointments, some even booking months in advance, without enough supplies on hand — or enough manpower to distribute them.
In fact, the CDC has ranked North Carolina among 11 states slowly administering the vaccine.
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Not to mention, it’s unclear how much vaccine supply is even available across the U.S. currently. Announcements were made earlier in the week that there is no reserve or stockpiles of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as was expected when the federal government announced it would send all second doses to the states.
Still, President-elect Joe Biden — who will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 — has promised 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days as president. To date, the federal government has received a little over 30 million doses, with the CDC reporting a little over 10 million Americans having been vaccinated with the first shot.
Even when supply is accrued and distributed to states, how local health departments and vaccination partners are staffed and equipped to handle the output is an ongoing work-in-progress. As new information becomes available, Port City Daily will continue to follow and update readers on how distribution affects New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
For now, let’s take a look at the numbers across each county and from New Hanover Regional Medical Center, which serves a seven-county region.
New Hanover County
According to the NCDHHS dashboard, New Hanover County is reporting 11,415 cases to date, though the county dashboard (updated nightly) has the case count higher at 11,574. Of those, 1,899 are active cases.
Public health announced its highest rise in case counts in one week, affecting 867 people.
On Jan. 11, New Hanover County reached a new highest one-day count since the pandemic began in March, reporting 209 cases (the last highest one-day count was Dec. 17 with 196).
New Hanover also crossed a milestone this week with more than 100 deaths from Covid-19.
“One death is too many, but we now have 102 people who have died from this virus and that is truly devastating,” said public health assistant director Carla Turner in a press release on Friday. “We don’t want this number to go up any more, but we are seeing a significant increase in cases in our community and it is cause for concern. So I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to continue wearing a mask, distancing from others, and avoiding gatherings. Please stay home if you can, get takeout instead of sitting in a restaurant, and only be in public when it is absolutely necessary. The vaccines being administered are providing us hope, but we are months away from enough people in our community having the vaccine to let our guard down.”
Demographics show the majority of infections are affecting the 25-49-year age group (38.12%).
Updated every Friday, the NCDHHS dashboard is reporting one cluster in child-care facilities and schools. New Hanover Coastal Christian High School has 30 total cases, 26 from children and four staff.
Last updated on Jan. 13, the NCDHHS vaccine dashboard is reporting 9,023 individuals have been vaccinated in New Hanover, with 2,101 people having received their series of shots.
The county announced it will receive a shipment of 3,900 from the state for first doses next week. It will announce in coming days when appointments will open again for the vaccines.
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The NCDHHS dashboard is reporting 3,488 cases and 25 deaths to date. The Pender County Covid-19 dashboard, last updated on Jan. 15, is lagging behind on its case count at 3,160, yet is ahead on its death count at 37.
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Pender is reporting 2,816 residents and 344 inmates are positive with Covid-19. Like New Hanover County, its highest age range of infection is 25-to-49-year-olds (39.77%).
Pender breaks down its case count by town as well:
Maple Hill: 49
Rocky Point: 493
Surf City: 70
Topsail Beach: 12
As of Friday, NCDHHS is reporting no clusters in child-care facilities or schools in Pender County.
It’s also reporting 1,623 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 248 completing the series of shots.
The state is reporting Brunswick has 5,689 cases and 81 deaths, while Brunswick County’s dashboard is reporting higher cases at 5,781.
Demographics show the majority of infections are affecting the 25-to-49-year age group (30.89%).
The state is reporting clusters at child-care facilities and schools K-12 at three locations in the county:
- Town Creek Elementary School: 38 total, with 21 children and 17 staff
- Southeastern Christian Academy: 5 total, with 3 children and 2 staff
- Leland Middle School: 6 total, with 2 children and 4 staff
As of Jan. 13, the state shows 2,321 people have received the first dose of the vaccine in Brunswick County, with 534 completing the series of shots. The county is also reporting its joint clinic vaccinated more than 770 individuals, ages 75 and older, with their first dose between Jan. 11 and 14.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
The New Hanover County Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) serves a seven-county region so numbers from their Covid-19 dashboard aren’t necessarily reflective of only residents from New Hanover County.
The hospital has checked in 1,315 patients (up 101 from last week’s 1,211) to date and discharged 1,039; 189 have passed away (up by 14 from last week). The hospital daily average of Covid-19 patients is 85.
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