NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County health officials will begin providing a weekly report compiling data* from across local and state sources to better share the picture of COVID-19 in the community. The report will be released weekly, and residents can view and sign up to receive the report by visiting Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.
This week, data shows a continued increase of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of cases among younger people, and new outbreaks in congregate living and child care settings. Additionally, New Hanover County Public Health was informed today of a resident who died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of New Hanover County residents who have died from COVID-19 to eight. The individual who passed away was in their 80’s and considered to be at risk of severe illness because of underlying health conditions.
“Another heartbreaking outcome of COVID-19 for one of our families, and I extend my most sincere sympathy to the family and friends of our community member who has passed away from this terrible virus,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “The data we are seeing every week shows COVID-19 continues to impact more and more residents. So please do whatever you can to slow the spread of this virus – wear a face covering and wait six feet from others when out in public, and wash your hands and high touch surfaces as often as possible. Together we can protect our loved ones and community members from potential serious illness or death. Please, do your part.”
Residents are urged to practice the three W’s – Wear, Wait, Wash, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
*COVID-19 data for New Hanover County is gathered from several sources, including local Public Health, New Hanover Regional Medical Center and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Time of data cutoff for the individual metric is indicated in each section below.
Data reflects Saturday – Friday, to align with release of report Friday afternoons.
The below list of outbreaks and clusters in New Hanover County is public information and reported to the NC Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to contain virus spread in areas of congregate living and child care settings. The below is based on NCDHHS reportable information and does not include cases that could be linked to retail, eating or other business establishments. However, it is important to remember that community spread of COVID-19 is present in New Hanover County. Note: the data below is the most accurate for New Hanover County, but may differ from the report published by NCDHHS.gov due to the timing of their updates.
Previous outbreaks, which are considered over because COVID-19 cases have ended and no further spread has occurred, include the Salvation Army of the Cape Fear Emergency Shelter.
As testing increases, there are more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. Looking at what percent of total tests are positive helps us understand whether lab-confirmed cases are increasing in comparison to the number of tests conducted. The lower the percent positive of COVID-19 cases, the more the virus is contained in a community.
“We want to see a sustained positive rate well below 10 percent and trending down, ideally in the 5 percent or less range,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “A low positivity rate would indicate to us that our community’s testing capacity is meeting our need, and that even though we are finding more positive cases, we are also finding more negative cases. “What we are seeing right now is concerning, both on the local and national level, because we have a high percentage of positive tests, combined with case increases daily. This tells us we still need to work hard on the three W’s and slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The data below is calculated using results from labs that report to NC DHHS electronically (Electronic Lab Reports or “ELRs”), and may not be fully representative of all tests conducted in New Hanover County because some labs may not be reporting electronically to the state. Learn more about testing for COVID-19 in North Carolina at NCDHHS.gov.
New Hanover County Testing Data:
Testing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 because Public Health is able to perform contact tracing with the help of the person who has tested positive. Through this process, the person’s close contacts are informed of potential exposure to the virus and advised to take more actions to protect those around them, containing and stopping the virus from continued spread.
This week, NCDHHS issued a Statewide Standing Order for COIVD-19 diagnostic testing, allowing testing sites to collect and submit samples for COVID-19 laboratory testing without a specific physician’s order, reducing barriers to diagnostic testing for individuals without primary care or a medical home.
You should be tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or meet other criteria like working in a high-risk setting, have participated in gatherings or are a member of a historically marginalized community. Find a testing location by visiting NCDHHS.gov, or calling the New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800.