Saturday, February 4, 2023

NHC considered low risk for Covid, announces interim health director

The Pandemic Operations Center at 1507 Greenfield St. offers vaccines, boosters and free at-home test kits. (Courtesy/NHC)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Metrics on Covid-19 rates countywide have seen a downward trend.

New Hanover County reported Friday the community is considered in the “low CDC Covid community level,” as case rates and healthcare impacts have improved this week.

“When looking at the data from the last couple of years, we predicted that we would see an increased impact from COVID around the holidays,” interim health director Jon Campbell said in a press release. “But our ability to return to a low level in just a few weeks shows that we have effective measures in place to combat such an increase.”

Campbell was selected to serve as interim director upon the departure of David Howard. A certified physician assistant, Campbell has served as the health and human services Pandemic Operations Center manager since December 2021. He will continue to lead that team as part of his new role.

Currently, New Hanover County has a Covid-19 rate of 139.89 per 100,000 residents compared to 298.97 per 100,000 when the county moved to high-level two weeks ago. New hospital admittance rates are at 9.3 per 100,000 for the last week.

“Most importantly, we know the vaccines and boosters can help prevent severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 so staying up-to-date on those will help to continue to lessen the impact on our healthcare system and keep everyone in the community safe,” Campbell said.

He noted it’s still important to stay prepared for changes as the virus continues to spread.

Recommended precautions for a Low Community Level include being fully vaccinated and boosted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends individuals still test for Covid-19 if they develop symptoms. Mask usage at this community level is optional.

The CDC plans to update community levels weekly, so residents can check the CDC website to know the current community impact level.

The Pandemic Operations Center, 1507 Greenfield St., offers initial vaccines and boosters on a walk-in basis Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free at-home tests are available for pick-up at the location, as well.

Covid-19 Community Data, as of Jan. 20:

  • New Hanover County’s percent positivity over the past 7 days is 17.6% (this represents positive Molecular (PCR) tests as a percent of total PCR tests performed countywide). 
  • Approximately 64.7% of New Hanover County residents have completed the initial Covid-19 vaccine series.
  • Since March 1, 2020, there have been 63,360 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Hanover County, resulting in 454 deaths.

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