By the Numbers: Covid-19 updates in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender for week of Apr. 12

More than 60,000 people have been fully vaccinated in New Hanover County. (Port City Daily / Courtesy New Hanover County)

While just a month or so ago, folks were scurrying to get hard-to-come-by vaccine appointments in the tri-county region, today slots are readily available. Currently, all three public health departments — New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender — are reporting appointments open. They have been all week, in fact.

Does that mean people are less interested in receiving the Covid-19 vaccine? Or that there is more supply?

Judging by state numbers alone, over the last five weeks, North Carolina was vaccinating over 400,000 people a week, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ dashboard. This week the number was down almost by half, at around 230,000 vaccinations.


Those numbers weren’t necessarily lax because of supply shortage either. According to state public health, North Carolina received 232,200 first doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines this week — up from last week’s supply of 216,000.

The state department announced Wednesday, Apr. 13, it would pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as recommended by the CDC and FDA. The state has administered 242,000 total doses of the J&J vaccine since its approval last month. The agencies confirmed cases of six women that reported severe, adverse side effects, including a blood clot that left one dead and another in serious condition.

“Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians,” the department released to the public. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are following the recommendations of the FDA and CDC and have paused the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until we learn more. The safety system in place is working as it should. If you have an appointment for Pfizer or Moderna, please go to your appointment as planned. If you have an appointment for Johnson & Johnson, your appointment will be rescheduled.”

RELATED: State and local health officials, vaccine providers follow FDA and CDC guidelines to pause administration of J&J vaccine

Health officials, politicians, scientists, and doctors alike have expressed concern over the pause causing greater vaccine hesitancy among the public.

“It has introduced extra doubt into the process,” Dr. Phillip Brown, vice president and chief physician of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, told Port City Daily earlier in the week. “And, right now, that’s really dangerous because we need to get significantly more people vaccinated to really have the type of herd immunity that we would hope to get.”

In North Carolina, 33.3% of the population is fully vaccinated; the goal is 70% or higher for herd immunity. Yet, it’s also inching closer to the millionth-case mark: There have been more than 940,000 Covid-19 cases across the state since the pandemic began.

As of Friday, Apr. 16, there were 1,064 hospitalizations, 12,387 deaths, and 2,487 newly reported cases. The state’s percent positivity is around 5.5%, still hovering at health officials’ goal of 5%.

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 as well.

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New Hanover County

CASES
As of Apr. 14, New Hanover is reporting 18,367 infectious people — up by 302 since last week. Public health reported 17,490 have recovered.

The death toll remains 163. It’s the third week in a row it hasn’t risen.

CDC is reporting New Hanover’s positivity rate has risen from 6.59% to 7.95%.

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Apr. 16, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) shows a cluster at Myrtle Grove Christian School, with seven total cases, one staff member and six children.

Port City Daily does a tri-county school check-in every week, breaking down cases according to what the schools are reporting. It can be read here.

As of Apr. 16, clusters and outbreaks in congregate-living facilities include:

  • Accordius Health at Wilmington: 28 total cases, with 20 staff and 8 residents.
  • New Hanover County Detention Facility: 92 total cases, with 31 staff and 61 inmates
  • Other facility on Martin St.: 13 total resident cases
  • Spring Arbor of Wilmington: 17 total cases, with nine staff and eight residents

VACCINATIONS
New Hanover Public Health increased vaccinations from 42,863 to 47,300 overall.

The NCDHHS dashboard shows the county has inoculated 63,009 people fully through NC providers — not including the federal pharmacy program; 79,002 have been partially vaccinated.

New Hanover Public Health announced it would stop the Johnson & Johnson vaccine under the FDA and CDC’s recommendations, after six women were adversely affected by blood clots, which resulted in one death.

“These rare occurrences triggered this pause as part of a very robust safety system, and the pause allows healthcare providers to become informed and aware of what to look for and how to treat patients should the investigation by the FDA show any connection between the vaccine and blood clots,” David Howard, NHC’s public health director, said. “We don’t want this pause to deter people from getting their vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna are both in supply and available in our community, so please continue to seek out a vaccine because they are proven to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19. Vaccines are our way to get back to the activities and people we love.”” 

Appointments are currently open through NHC public health and can be made here.

As well, the county is hosting a walk-up Pfizer vaccine clinic on Monday and Tuesday, Apr. 19-20, at the health and human services building at 16th and Greenfield streets. Anyone 16 and older can drop in at their convenience, between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

New Hanover County informs residents through emails, 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, 8 a.m. – 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.

As well, the county encourages folks to cancel appointments if and when they receive a vaccine elsewhere. To do so, call the county’s call center at 910-798-6800.

Brunswick County

CASES
Brunswick County’s case count is at 8,891 (up by 131 from last week). Its death count remained the same as last week at 148. The county also is reporting 259 active cases and 8,484 recovered.

CDC is reporting Brunswick’s positivity rate is up from last week from 6.83% to 7.45%

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

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Apr. 16, NCDHHS is reporting seven cases at Roger Bacon Academy — one staff member and six students.

Port City Daily does a tri-county school check-in every week, breaking down cases according to what the schools are reporting. It can be read here.

There is only one congregate-living facility on the list as of Apr. 16:

  • Carolina Dunes Behavioral Health: 27 total, with 25 staff and two resident

VACCINATIONS
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 55,205 first doses in Brunswick through NC providers — not including the federal pharmacy program. It’s fully vaccinated 44,828 people.

Brunswick County Public Health has appointment availability for Moderna and Pfizer. It also stopped administering Johnson & Johnson for now. Questions can 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, updated on Apr. 12, there have been 5,124 positive tests to date. Of those cases, 99% have recovered, and deaths have remained stable since last week at 69. Pender also reported only one hospitalization.

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

CDC is reporting Pender’s positivity rate is down from last week from 10.57% to 9.05%.

CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAKS
Updated Apr. 16, NCDHHS shows no change from last week in clusters in the following Pender County congregate-living facilities:

  • Ashe Gardens Care Facility: Two total staff cases
  • The Laurels of Pender: 129 total cases, 61 staff, 68 residents, 11 deaths
  • Woodbury Wellness Center: 146 total cases, 53 staff, 93 residents and nine resident deaths
  • Pender County Jail: 22 total inmates

Its also reporting no clusters or outbreaks in K-12 schools in Pender County.

Port City Daily does a tri-county school check-in every week, breaking down cases according to what the schools are reporting. It can be read here.

VACCINATIONS
According to the state, vaccinations have gone up in the county from last week with almost 2,000 more people vaccinated at 12,875 through NC providers — not including the federal pharmacy program. As well, 17,126 have been partially vaccinated.

Appointments are open through Pender County Public Health.

Folks can call 910-663-4200 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m or 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.

Stats on NHRMC’s dashboard were updated Apr. 16:

NHRMC has 1,943 Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid-19. Of the overall patients, 1,617 were discharged and 308 have died (no new deaths reported since last week).

The daily average of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has gone from 5 to 12.

NHRMC has increased vaccinations over the last week by more than 5,000, and has administered 85,716 doses. The hospital currently has vaccine appointment availability here. It has paused the Johnson & Johnson one-shot for now.


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