Sunday, March 26, 2023

By the Numbers: Covid-19 updates in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender for week of Mar. 1

New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties are all now in the yellow zone, with significant viral spread on N.C.’s County Alert System. (Port City Daily/Courtesy of the state)

SOUTHEASTERN NC — Since North Carolina began tracking Covid-19 a year ago, the state has had 872,176 positive cases, out of more than almost 10.5 million tests administered. The state crossed more than 11,500 deaths from the virus over the weekend. Yet, hospitalizations have gone from 1,414 to 1,179.

More than 2.7 million shots have been given, up 300,000 from last week, and the state’s positivity rate has now fallen below the 5% mark health officials hoped to see. North Carolina is at 4.2% positivity, which also means significant improvement on the County Alert System.

New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties all are in the yellow zone, indicating significant spread, the least of the metrics (orange being substantial and red being critical). Only six counties in the state remain in red, 34 in orange and 60 in yellow, as compared to two weeks ago when the state had 27 red counties, 40 orange counties and 33 yellow counties.

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

New Covid-19 cases in New Hanover County increased by 396 the week of Mar. 1, according to a press release from the county. Numbers continue tapering off and show a decrease in viral spread.

CDC has the positivity rate at 5.35%, a decrease of 0.14%.

Of the 16,581  infected, 15,103 are reported as recovered. The death toll only rose by one to 154 this week.

“We are seeing fewer reported cases of COVID-19 in our community, our percent positivity rate is down tremendously at 5.2%, and our vaccine efforts are increasing every week,” Assistant Health Director Carla Turner said in a county press release. 

Updated Mar. 5, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has confirmed one cluster in Myrtle Grove Christian School, with seven total cases, one staff member and six children.

There is also a cluster in Holly Shelter Middle School, with six cases, one from staff and five from children.

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

  • Classy Bears Day Care and Preschool, with six total cases, three being staff and three children
  • Rising Stars of Wilmington: Eight total cases, with two staff and six children testing positive

Nursing homes and other congregate living facilities with spread include:

  • Accordius Health at Wilmington: 27 total cases (up 10 from last week), with 19 staff and 8 residents.
  • Autumn Care of Myrtle Grove: 46 total cases (up one from last week), with 11 staff, 35 residents
  • Azalea Health & Rehab Center: 105 total cases, with 45 staff, 60 patients and 10 patient deaths
  • Bradley Creek Health Center: 45 total cases, with 27 staff and 18 patients
  • Castle Creek Memory Care: 13 total cases (up one from last week), with five staff and 8 residents
  • Cypress Pointe Rehabilitation Center: 82 total cases, with 27 staff, 55 patients and 17 patient death
  • Davis Health Care Center: 27 total cases (up one from last week), with 25 staff, two patients and one patient death
  • Liberty Commons Rehabilitation Center: 17 total cases, with 12 staff and five patients
  • New Hanover County Detention Facility: 70 total cases, with 28 staff and 42 patients
  • Northchase Rehab & Nursing Care: 119 total cases (down one from last week), with 42 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

New Hanover is reporting 27,174  total doses, with 16,320 first and 10,854 second shots administered in the whole county.

New Hanover and New Hanover Regional Medical Center have reported vaccinating 3,200 of PreK-12 and childcare staff from public, private, and charter schools and child care facilities over the last two weeks. It also continued focusing on older, higher risk individuals and healthcare workers last week.

“We are working to vaccinate even more adults 65 and older, to provide a high level of protection to this group, those most at risk of serious illness and death, to move us closer to herd immunity across the wider community,” Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko said in a press release.

The goal to reach herd immunity is 72% of the county’s population, which would be around 162,000.

“But we are starting to see a noticeable decrease in the demand for appointments in that age group,” Fayko added.

Next week the county will fold in all of Group 3, frontline essential workers, which it refrained from doing when the governor opened up the group fully on Wednesday, Mar. 3.

Through the county’s partnerships and collaborative efforts with other vaccine providers, 61,185 total doses — 36,462 first doses and 24,723 second doses — have been given.

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 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 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

Brunswick County’s case count rose by only 115 this week to 8,147 overall, along with its death count rising by four to 139 total.

CDC has Brunswick’s positivity rate at 3.91%, a decrease of 1.84% since last week.

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.

Updated Mar. 5, NCDHHS is reporting clusters and outbreaks 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.

In schools K-12, clusters include:

  • Jessie Mae Moore Elementary: 9 total, with one staff and eight children
  • Lincoln Elementary School: 8 total, with two staff and six children
  • North Brunswick High School: Six total, two staff and four students
  • New this week is South Brunswick High School: 5 total students
  • South Brunswick Charter School: 14 total, with three staff and 11 students
  • Union Elementary School: 10 total, with two staff and eight children

Brunswick congregate living and residential care facilities with cases are:

  • Autumn Care of Shallotte: Nine total, with six staff and three patients
  • Brunswick Cove Living Center: 63 total, with 23 staff, 40 patients, and three patient deaths
  • Brunswick Health and Rehab: 62 total, with 25 staff, 37 patients and six patient deaths
  • Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health: 23 total, with 21 staff and two resident
  • Coastal Pointe: Three cases among staff
  • Ocean Isle Operations: 67 total, with 24 staff, 43 residents and 10 resident deaths
  • Universal Health Care/Brunswick: Eight total cases among staff

Brunswick County is reporting 49,722 vaccinations, with 31,834 first doses and 17,888 second doses administered to residents.

Though the governor opened vaccines to all frontline essential workers on Wednesday, Brunswick will continue vaccinating only those in Group 1 (healthcare workers), Group 2 (anyone 65 or older regardless of health status or living situation), and part of Group 3 (anyone working in child care or in PreK – 12 schools and essential frontline workers).

“Community members who are considered essential frontline workers under Group 3 and those in Group 4 are asked to remain patient as it may still take several weeks to find an available appointment spot at the mass vaccination clinic,” the county noted in its weekly press release.

Supply remains low, and appointments are added weekly based on current allocation numbers received from the feds. Supplies are sufficient for follow through on all appointments scheduled Mar. 8-12.

Brunswick County schedules appointments at Questions can also be sent to

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

According to Pender County Health and Human Services, 4,685 people (up 174 from last week) have tested positive for Covid-19 the week of Mar, 1, with four hospitalizations. Of those cases, 98% have recovered and 57 have died.

The state dashboard varies and is reporting 4,772 cases and 60 deaths.

CDC has the Pender’s positivity rate at 10.12%, an increase from last week’s 7.34% by more than 2%.

Pender breaks down its cases by area percentages:

Burgaw: 17% cases
Hampstead: 36% cases
Rocky Point: 17% cases
Watha/Willard: 7% cases
Other: 23% cases

Updated Mar. 5, NCDHHS has confirmed clusters in the following Pender County congregate living facilities:

  • The Laurels of Pender: 132 total cases, 40 staff, 92 residents
  • Woodbury Wellness Center: 146 total cases, 53 staff, 93 residents and nine resident deaths
  • Pender County Jail: 22 total inmates

Pender County has no confirmed clusters in schools or daycares.

According to the state, 14,288 people have received vaccines in Pender County. Of those, 8,904 are first doses and 5,384 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

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 Mar. 5, NHRMC has 1,752 Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid-19. That number of hospitalizations increased by 29 from last week.

Of the overall patients, 1,441 were discharged and 291 have died (up by 4 since last week).

The daily average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has decreased since last week from 22 to 20.

NHRMC has given 5,271 more doses since last week, going from administering 53,265 to 58,536 to date.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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