By the Numbers: Covid-19 updates in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender for week of Feb. 15

Covid-19 numbers continue to track a downward trend on infections as vaccinations rise. (Port City Daily/File)

SOUTHEASTERN NC — As vaccinations continue to rise, N.C. continues its downward streak of new cases weekly, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Though Saturday, Feb. 20, had more than 3,400 cases in one day — 685 were accounted for from numbers at the end of December — today the dashboard is reporting 2,500 cases. It’s a vast decline from Feb. 3’s last major spike of more than 12,000 new cases in one day.

Positive tests rose a little this week to 7.1%. positivity test rate, with 840,096 people in the state reported as contracting Covid-19 since March 2020— up by 21,372 since last week.

Hospitalizations also continue to track downward, with 1,708 admitted statewide. 170 cases were confirmed on Feb. 15, one of the lowest daily counts since the first week of November.


The state has administered more than 1.9 million vaccines to date — up 300,000 from last week. On Feb. 24, Group 3 will open gradually, first to educators. Beginning Mar. 10, all other frontline essential workers, including firefighters, U.S. postal workers, elected officials, veterinarians, grocery store workers, food processing workers, manufacturing workers, bartenders and waitstaff, and others, will be eligible in Group 3.

Let’s take a look at Covid-19 data, including cases, clusters and outbreaks, and vaccinations across the tri-county region and at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

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New Hanover County

CASES
New Covid-19 cases in New Hanover County increased by 676 the week of Feb. 15. Compared to previous weeks, when new cases have been above 1,000, this shows a decrease in viral spread.

“That is really good news,” Assistant Health Director Carla Turner said in a press release, “and we are hopeful our cases will continue to trend down as the weeks go on and as more people are vaccinated. Our community has done a tremendous job of slowing the spread of the virus as much as possible, and we hope everyone will continue wearing a mask and not gathering with others, so that we can continue the important work of protecting one another.”

Of the 15,742  infected, 13,678 are reported as recovered. The death toll has risen by four, now at 142 over last week’s 138.

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Feb. 19, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has confirmed one cluster in Myrtle Grove Christian School, with seven total cases with one infection from staff and six from children.

(New Hanover County Schools reported an additional cluster this week, which likely hasn’t made it onto the state dashboard. Read: Checking in with tri-county schools: Holly Shelter, South Brunswick High identified as Covid-19 clusters)

It has two clusters in childcare facilities, including New Hanover Classy Bears Day Care and Preschool, with six total cases, three being staff and three children. Rising Stars of Wilmington also has eight total cases, with two staff and eight children testing positive.

Updated Feb. 19, nursing homes and other congregate living facilities with spread include:

  • Accordius Health at Wilmington: 17 total cases, with 13 staff and four residents
  • Autumn Care of Myrtle Grove: 45 total cases, with 12 staff, 33 residents
  • Azalea Health & Rehab Center: 100 total cases, with 45 staff, 55 patients and four patient deaths
  • Bradley Creek Health Center: 45 total cases, with 27 staff and 18 patients
  • Brookdale Wilmington: 16 total cases, with four staff and 12 residents
  • Castle Creek Memory Care: 12 total cases, with five staff and 7 residents
  • Commons at Brightmore: 23 total cases, seven staff and one resident, with one staff and five resident deaths
  • Cypress Pointe Rehabilitation Center: 82 total cases, with 27 staff, 55 patients and 17 patient deaths
  • Davis Health Care Center: 26 total cases, with 24 staff, two patients and one patient death
  • Kempton at Brightmore: 12 total cases, with seven staff and five residents
  • Liberty Commons Rehabilitation Center: 15 total cases, with 12 staff and three patients
  • Morningside of Wilmington: 20 total cases, with eight staff and 12 residents
  • New Hanover County Detention Facility: 69 total cases, with 28 staff and 41 inmates
  • Northchase Rehab & Nursing Care: 118 total cases, with 40 staff, 78 patients and eight patient deaths
  • Peak Resources – Wilmington: 90 total cases, 33 staff, with 57 patients and five patient deaths
  • Spring Arbor of Wilmington: 17 total cases, with nine staff and eight residents

VACCINATIONS
New Hanover County is reporting 54,017 total vaccinations administered as of Feb. 19. Of the distributions, 33,303 were first doses and 20,714 were second doses.

As of Feb. 19, New Hanover County Public Health is reporting 22,013 total doses administered: 12,594  first doses and 9,419 second doses.

Inoculation has reached 14.2% of the population with first doses and 8.83% of the population with second doses. Vaccines have been administered to groups 1 and 2, healthcare workers and individuals 65 and over.

The county announced this week it will work with public health to begin vaccinating educators PreK-12 in Group 3, which opens Feb. 24. It will open to other school system staff thereafter and determined by supply.

“Around 2,000 members of our local education workforce will be receiving information about appointments directly from their employer early next week,” Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko said in a press release. “And then based on the supply we receive in future weeks, we hope to partner on another event to specifically serve our education staff prior to March 10.”

Appointment availability for the week of Feb. 22-29 is unknown as of Friday, Feb. 19. Shipping of vaccines has been delayed due to inclement weather caused by last week’s winter storms.

RELATED: Extreme weather disrupts vaccine shipping channels: Pender County left without expected doses

When vaccine appointments open, New Hanover County is informing residents through email announcements, text alerts and social media posts. People can also sign up to receive notifications online or by contacting the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Other appointments through vaccine providers can be made at:

  • 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.

Public health also has released the following information for anyone attempting to get a vaccine in the county:

  • Public Health, as instructed by NCDHHS, will only vaccinate people who live or work in North Carolina.
  • When appointments are available for the county’s online scheduling system, a unique email is required for each appointment. In addition, appointments cannot be transferred to someone else after they have been made.
  • Spanish interpreters are available in the call center to assist with booking appointments and the online appointment system through the county is in English and Spanish when appointments are available.
  • If you have received your first dose of the vaccine, you should receive your second dose of the vaccine through the same provider. Second doses should occur on the date outlined on your vaccine card and not be rescheduled.

Brunswick County

CASES
Brunswick County reported its positivity rate at 9.5%. Its case count rose a little more than 400 to 7,838, along with its death count by 12 from 119 to 131.

Brunswick’s Covid-19 dashboard has been down since January 24 due to technical issues. However, it has updated numbers listed on a table chart.

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Feb. 19, NCDHHS is reporting clusters and outbreaks in below congregate living and residential care facilities in Brunswick County:

  • Autumn Care of Shallotte: Nine total, with six staff and three patients
  • Brunswick Cove Living Center: 60 total, with 22 staff, 38 patients, and three patient deaths
  • Brunswick Health and Rehab: 62 total, with 25 staff, 37 patients and six patient deaths
  • Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health: 20 total, with 18 staff and two resident
  • Coastal Pointe: Three cases among staff
  • Ocean Isle Operations: 67 total, with 24 staff, 43 residents and nine resident deaths
  • Universal Health Care/Brunswick: Eight total cases among staff

The virus has also spread within three child-care facilities:

  • Childcare Network Southport has seven cases, with four staff and three children testing positive. 
  • Kids World Academy in Southport, with five total cases, three from staff and two children.
  • Tiny Tots Child Care in Shallotte has nine cases, including one staff member and eight children

Updated Feb. 19, K-12 clusters include:

  • Jessie Mae Moore Elementary: Nine total, with one staff and eight children
  • Lincoln Elementary School: 8 total, with two staff and six children
  • Added this week: North Brunswick High School: Six total, two staff and four students
  • South Brunswick Charter School: 15 total, with three staff and 12 students
  • Union Elementary School: 10 total, with two staff and eight children

VACCINATIONS
According to the state, Brunswick County has vaccinated 34,757 doses, with 24,601 first doses and 10,156 second doses.

The county is reporting that scheduled appointments for next week are OK as of now, but could change if supplies are delayed by inclement weather from last week’s storms.

The county noted in a release that if any appointments have to be rescheduled, it will send emails and an automated phone message informing appointees of their new time and date.

The county will automatically reschedule all appointments if need be. “If you cannot make the new appointment and need to reschedule, call Novant Health Care Connections at 855-NH-VAC4U where you will give your information to be contacted,” the county noted in a release.

Brunswick County schedules appointments at NovantHealth.org/BrunswickVaccine. Questions can also be sent to coronavirus@brunswickcountync.gov.

Folks who don’t have access to internet can call public health at 910-253-2339, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Pender County

CASES
According to Pender County Health and Human Services, 4,427 people have tested positive for Covid-19 the week of Feb. 15, with six hospitalizations. Of those cases, 98% have recovered and shows 51 deaths.

The state dashboard varies and is reporting 4,533 cases and 55 deaths. Like Brunswick and New Hanover counties, people ages 25 to 49 are testing positive the most at 39%.

Pender breaks down its cases by area percentages:

Burgaw: 17% cases
Hampstead: 35% cases
Rocky Point: 16% cases
Watha/Willard: 7% cases
Other: 25% cases

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Feb. 19, NCDHHS has confirmed clusters in the following Pender County congregate living facilities:

  • The Laurels of Pender: 132 total, 40 staff and 92 patients
  • Woodbury Wellness Center: 146 total, 53 staff and 93 patients, with nine patient deaths

Pender County has no confirmed clusters in schools or daycares.

VACCINATIONS
According to the state, 10,347 people have received vaccines in Pender County. Of those, 7,083 are first doses and 3,264 are second doses.

Vaccination appointments can be made when supply is available by calling 910-663-4200 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Folks can make online appointments at pendercountync.gov.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center

New Hanover 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.

As of Feb. 21, NHRMC has 1,669 1,599 Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid-19. That number of hospitalizations increased by 70 from last week.

Of the overall patients, 1,371 were discharged and 267 have died (up by 9 since last week).

The daily average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has decreased since last week from 47 to 31.

NHRMC has given 46,690 vaccine doses to date.


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