SOUTHEASTERN NC — Over the past week, North Carolina is reporting Covid-19 cases at 718,812 and 8,695 deaths, with a 10.5% daily positive rate among those being tested. Though the overall numbers continue to rise, the seven-day average for new cases dropped from 8,711 on Jan. 11 to 6,199 on Jan. 18. The death average over seven days also went down, from 91 on Jan. 11 to 71 on Jan. 18.
Despite these slight glimmers of hope, North Carolina isn’t in the clear. For four days straight, the death toll across the state has been upward of 100 per day.
Currently 3,303 people are hospitalized with 93% of hospitals reporting. 1,253 ventilators are in use out of 2,389 available, with more than 2,000 ICU beds and 15,500 inpatient hospital beds in use.
Despite limited supplies, vaccinations continue, with 573,130 doses given across N.C. Of that, 424,274 are first doses, 76,293 second doses and 72,563 total doses were given through the CDC’s longterm care facility program.
Raleigh’s News & Observer is reporting that the state’s usual 120,000 weekly doses shipped to 100 counties will lessen this week. It’s holding back a hefty amount of vaccines for mass-scale events in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway. In some counties, it means canceling appointments.
“New Hanover County had not been advised that this week’s shipment of vaccines from the state has changed from what were notified of last week,” NHC spokesperson Jessica Loeper wrote in an email to Port City Daily. “We expect to receive 1,950 doses of Pfizer, and because of our 2nd-dose efforts next week (we will be vaccinating around 4,800 people with their second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna), the supply we receive from the state will actually be split and transferred to Wilmington Health and NHRMC for their community-wide efforts. So public health won’t be opening up appointments for first doses this week.”
NHRMC nor Wilmington Health have canceled appointments. Spokesperson Tammy Proctor said Pender County didn’t have to cancel appointments either.
Chris Mackey, director of communications for NC DHHS, told N&O that “[a]s long as we are getting such a small amount of vaccine as a state, there are going to be challenges and shortages.”
Hopefully, that will change soon.
Last Friday President Biden released a national strategy to address Covid-19 across the nation. It includes additional funding for the states, as well as more supply, help with distribution, administration and tracking. As soon as updates are given to the states from the federal government, Port City Daily will keep its readers abreast of the news.
Let’s take a look at Covid-19 data, including cases, clusters and vaccinations across the tri-county region and at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
New Hanover County
According to New Hanover County Health and Human Services, an additional 10 people — all in their 80s and 90s — died from Covid-19 over the past week, bringing the county’s death toll to 112.
New Hanover continues to see a rise in cases, too, with 620 reported in seven days.
“We have consistently been seeing more than 100 new COVID cases reported each day to Public Health over the past few weeks, and that is incredibly concerning,” Public Health Assistant Director Carla Turner said in a press release.
The 205 new cases reported Jan. 22 marked the county’s second-highest one-day case count, just shy of 208 on Jan. 11.
The 25-49 age group remains the most affected, accounting for 38.17% of the county’s cases.
The N.C. Health and Human Services dashboard is reporting one local K-12 cluster: Coastal Christian High School has 30 total cases affecting four staff members and 30 students.
There are no clusters in child-care settings.
Nursing home and congregate living facilities continue to be affected:
- Azalea Health & Rehab Center: 61 total cases, with 32 staff, 29 patients and three deaths
- Bradley Creek Health Center: 33 total cases, with 18 staff and 15 patients
- Cypress Pointe Rehabilitation Center: 80 total cases, with 26 staff, 54 patients and 14 deaths
- Davis Health Care Center: 19 total cases, 17 staff, with two patients and one death
- Liberty Commons Rehabilitation Center: eight total cases, with three staff and 11 patients
- Northchase Rehab & Nursing Care: 116 total cases, with 38 staff, 78 patients and eight deaths
- Peak Resources – Wilmington: 86 total cases, 29 staff, with 57 patients and 5 total deaths
“I think we all have COVID fatigue,” Turner said, “and that is leading some people to relax the protective measures we have been encouraging for the past 10 months, but now isn’t the time to do that. We have several more months left before enough people are vaccinated and we can begin to relax our precautions — so please continue to wear your mask and avoid gatherings.”
To date the state dashboard reports that 16,018 vaccinations have been administered in New Hanover County — up 6,995 from last week’s report. 13,323 first doses have been given and 2,695 second doses.
Vaccination locations have increased in New Hanover. Stone Theaters Pointe 14 Cinema at The Pointe at Barclay — which has been shuttered since March because of the pandemic — is now open as a New Hanover Regional Medical site for inoculations.
New Hanover County Health and Human Services and Wilmington Health also are vaccination sites.
The county hosted numerous outreach events to reach marginalized communities. Those efforts, some in partnership with MedNorth and Cape Fear Clinic, led to over 600 people from communities of color, Indigenous groups, home-bound adults, and those facing homelessness receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
Public health, NHRMC and Wilmington Health announce weekly when vaccination appointments open (Port City Daily will update the public via Facebook and its Live Briefs section on the website). The county reported Friday it will receive 4,800 vaccinations for Jan. 25-30.
“The county is committed to get all of the vaccines we receive from the state into arms within seven days of receipt,” said Donna Fayko, director of NHC health and human services, in a press release.
Public health has instructed the public to follow below instructions to get an appointment:
- NHRMC: Vaccinations can be scheduled at nhrmc.org/coronavirus or by calling (910) 662-2020 when appointments are available. NHRMC now has an email list available for anyone to sign up to receive notifications when COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available. The link to sign up can be found here.
- Wilmington Health: Vaccinations can be scheduled at WilmingtonHealth.com/COVIDvaccine or by calling (910) 407-5115 when appointments are available.
The county is in the process of completing an online schedule system that will be launched by the first of February.
“We will still be limited in the number of appointments we can offer, based on the supply we have,” Fayko said, “but we believe this will be a good improvement for the customer experience, coupled with our dedicated call center that will continue to take appointments.”
According to Brunswick County Health and Human Services, there have been 6,226 positive cases (more than the state dashboard at 6,149). That’s up 275 cases since last week, with 1,377 cases considered active and isolating across 1,009 different households; 20 are hospitalized.
Of the 6,056 positive cases, 1,938 positive cases are of people between the ages of 25-49, with 1,693 above the age of 65.
The county is reporting 87 deaths from residents and two from non-residents (the state is reporting 85 deaths), up six from last week. Brunswick breaks them down by age range: 65 years or older, 78 cases; 50-64 years, 5 cases; 25-49 years, 6 cases.
Brunswick County noted 40% of their total death numbers are coming from congregate living facilities in the area.
The N.C. Health and Human Services dashboard has multiple clusters in congregate living establishments in Brunswick:
- Autumn Care of Shallotte: Eight total, with six staff and two patients
- Brunswick Cove Living Center: 55 total cases, with 17 staff, 38 patients, and three deaths
- Brunswick Health and Rehab: 60 total, with 24 staff, 36 patients and one death
- Liberty Commons Nursing & Rehab Center of Southport: Two total cases, with none from staff or patients.
Child-care facilities and K-12 schools also have outbreaks. Childcare Network Southport has six cases, with three staff and three children testing positive.
K-12 clusters include:
- Town Creek Elementary School: 38 total, with 17 staff and 21 children
- Southeastern Christian Academy: Five total cases, with two staff and three children
- Brunswick Leland Middle School: Six total, with four staff and two children
According to the state dashboard, Brunswick County has vaccinated 6,517 people to date; 5,706 are first doses and 811 are second doses. The county inoculated 1,500 individuals between Jan. 18-22 at the partners’ joint vaccination clinic, according to a county press release.
Brunswick is directing all community members 65 and up and healthcare workers to schedule appointments at NovantHealth.org/BrunswickVaccine. The public at large no longer needs to create a MyChart account through Novant Health.
Brunswick booked around 27,000 appointments in five hours on Tuesday through the system. Appointments will be fulfilled depending on vaccine supply provided to the county weekly. According to the county, new appointments are added every Friday evening.
Folks without access to a computer can call public health at (910) 253-2339, Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (excluding county-observed holidays) and their leave name, phone number, birth date, and an email (if available) for a Novant Health representative to return the call and help secure an appointment.
According to the Pender County Health and Human Services dashboard, there have been 3,358 Covid-19 cases to date — with 3,014 among residents and 344 at Pender Correctional. The case count is up 19 since last week, and there are 40 deaths to date, up by three.
The state dashboard varies and is showing 3,940 cases to date with 39 deaths. Like Brunswick and New Hanover, the majority of cases (1,326) is within the 25-49 age group.
Pender breaks down its case count by areas, as well:
Maple Hill: 56
Rocky Point: 526
Surf City: 73
Topsail Beach: 13
The N.C. Health and Human Services dashboard is showing two clusters in congregate living facilities in Pender:
- The Laurels of Pender: 132 total cases, 40 staff and 92 patients
- Woodbury Wellness Center: 20 total cases, 14 staff and six patients
Pender is not reporting any clusters in schools or daycare/child-care centers.
According to the state health dashboard, 2,661 people have received vaccines in the county. Of those, 2,273 are first doses and 388 are second doses.
Vaccinations are given at the health department in Burgaw and the Hampstead Annex. Patients will need to fill out a form and bring it with them when they secure their appointment.
“The Pender County Health Department has taken thousands of calls,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director, in a press release on Thursday.
Pender announced last week it has a new phone number designated for Covid-19 questions: 910-663-4200. Folks can call Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“This new telephone number will help us to better serve our residents,” Moser said in a press release.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
New Hanover County Regional Medical Center serves a seven-county region so numbers from its Covid-19 dashboard aren’t necessarily reflective of only residents from New Hanover County.
The hospital has checked in 1,382 patients (up 67 from last week) to date and discharged 1,113; 213 have died (up by 24 from last week). The daily average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has decreased from 85 to 63.
NHRMC is reporting it has given 15,706 vaccine doses to date.
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