Monday, June 24, 2024

By the Numbers: Covid-19 updates in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender for week of Mar. 8

SOUTHEASTERN NC — Vaccinations continue moving at a steady pace in the state. More than 3 million total shots have been given, and the state’s positivity rate has now fallen below the 5% mark, tracking at 3.7%.

Gov. Cooper announced he will open the vaccination queue on Wednesday, March 17, to people with high-risk health conditions and those who live in congregate settings in Group 4.

The rest of Group 4 frontline essential workers will open on April 7.

RELATED: State officials announce vaccines will open to part of Group 4 next week

As well, more vaccine providers have opened in North Carolina, including CVS pharmacies.

As more folks are getting vaccinated nationwide in an effort to reach 73% herd immunity, the CDC released new guidance this week as well about fully vaccinated individuals gathering without masks in certain settings:

  • They may visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing. 
  • They may visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease. 
  • They may skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days. 

CDC did not lift guidance on dropping the mask completely and says mask-wearing in public spaces, regardless of vaccination, should be followed. All three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — were approved for emergency use only for individual immunity. Thus they weren’t tested to see if it prevented folks from being carriers and potentially passing Covid-19 to others.

Since North Carolina began tracking the virus a year ago, the state has had 882,715 positive cases, out of more than almost 10.7 million tests administered. The state now has seen more than 11,600 deaths from the virus. Yet, hospitalizations have gone from 1,179 to 1,028 over the last week.

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 293 the week of Mar. 8. Numbers continue tapering off and show a decrease in viral spread.

“This is the fourth week in a row that our weekly COVID-19 case count has significantly decreased . . . and this week our percent positivity rate is also down to 5.1 percent,” Carla Turner,  assistant health director, said in a press release.

Of the 16,874  infected, around 15,000 have recovered. The death toll only rose by five this week, going from 154 to 159, consisting of four over the age of 75 and one in their 50s.

Updated Mar. 8, 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

There are fewer nursing homes and congregate living facilities with clusters this week. No longer on the list are Autumn Care of Myrtle Grove, Bradley Creek Health Center, and Cypress Pointe Rehabilitation Center.

Clusters include:

  • Accordius Health at Wilmington: 27 total cases, with 19 staff and 8 residents.
  • Azalea Health & Rehab Center: 105 total cases, with 45 staff, 60 patients and 10 patient deaths
  • Castle Creek Memory Care: 13 total cases, with five staff and 8 residents
  • Davis Health Care Center: 27 total cases, with 25 staff, two patients and one patient death
  • Liberty Commons Rehabilitation Center: 15 total cases (down two from last week), with 12 staff and three patients
  • New Hanover County Detention Facility: 74 total cases (up three from last week), with 28 staff and 46 inmates
  • Northchase Rehab & Nursing Care: 119 total cases, 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 32,905 vaccinated in the whole county.

Next week, it will begin vaccinating folks in Group 4, which opens March 17 according to Gov. Cooper’s orders.

“Even if you have been vaccinated, please remember that you should continue wearing your mask in public,” assistant health director Carla Turner reminded. “You aren’t considered ‘fully vaccinated’ until two weeks after you complete the vaccine series, so for most residents in New Hanover County, that’s two weeks after your second dose. If you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, it is two weeks after that one dose.” 

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 145 this week to 8,292 overall. Its death count stayed the same at 139 total. The county also is reporting 285 active cases and 7,868 recovered.

Brunswick’s positivity rate is at 5.9% according to county officials.

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. 8, NCDHHS is reporting clusters and outbreaks within two 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: 5 total (down 9 from last week) with 0 staff and 5 students
  • Union Elementary School: 10 total, with two staff and eight children

There are less congregate-living and residential care facilities on the list this week. The following have clusters and outbreaks:

  • Brunswick Cove Living Center: 63 total, with 23 staff, 40 patients, and three patient deaths
  • Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health: 23 total, with 21 staff and two resident
  • Ocean Isle Operations: 63 total (down four from last week), with 23 staff, 40 residents and 10 resident deaths

Brunswick County is reporting 58,406 vaccinations, with 35,839 first doses and 22,567 second doses administered to residents.

“More than 25% of Brunswick County residents are at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 as of this week, with nearly 16% fully vaccinated,” county officials said in a release.

Though Brunswick acknowledges moving into Group 4 vaccines on Wednesday, it did reveal that most appointments are booked out several weeks in advance in Brunswick County for groups 1 through 3 already. However, future appointment dates will be added based on current allocation numbers received from the feds.

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, 4,796 people (up 111 from last week) have tested positive for Covid-19, with four hospitalizations. Of those cases, 98% have recovered and 60 have died (up by three from last week).

The state dashboard varies and is reporting 4,857 cases and 65 deaths.

CDC is reporting Pender’s positivity rate down from 10.12% last week to 8.59%.

Pender breaks down its cases by area percentages:

Burgaw: 18% cases
Hampstead: 36% cases
Rocky Point: 17% cases
Watha/Willard: 7% cases
Other: 22% cases

Updated Mar. 8, NCDHHS has confirmed clusters in the following Pender County congregate living facilities:

  • Ashe Gardens Care Facility: Two total staff cases
  • 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, vaccinations have not changed in the county from last week, with 6,578 people fully receiving vaccines.

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. 12, NHRMC has 1,789 Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid-19. That number of hospitalizations increased by 37 from last week.

Of the overall patients, 1,473 were discharged (up by 32) and 294 have died (up by three since last week).

The daily average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has gone up since last week from 20 to 21.

NHRMC has increased its doses administered, going from 58,536 to 62,229 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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