New Hanover County seeing “Thanksgiving surge” of COVID-19 cases, continues vaccine planning

Posted December 18, 2020 at 3:25 pm     Category: Emergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials are reporting a surge of COVID-19 cases attributed to the Thanksgiving holiday, and were informed of nine additional deaths of residents from COVID-19 this week. This brings the total number of county residents who have died from COVID-19 to 76.

Of the nine individuals reported to have died from the virus, one person was in their 50’s, two in their 60’s, two in their 70’s, three in their 80’s and one in their 90’s. All were considered to be at increased risk of severe illness because of age or underlying health conditions.

New Hanover County has had eight days this month with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 reported, and the daily case count record was broken twice this week, with 156 new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday and a staggering 198 on Thursday. To date, there have been a total of 8,777 COVID-19 cases in the county, with about 1,645 of those currently infected with the virus.

Public Health is currently monitoring six outbreaks and three clusters of the virus locally, and Public Health officials urge residents to continue protective measures to slow the spread of the virus through the holiday season.

“This recent surge in cases can be attributed to activity over the Thanksgiving holiday – people got together with family and friends that maybe they hadn’t seen in a while, and what this does is it increases your exposure to COVID-19,” said New Hanover County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA in a video message this week. “As you make your holiday plans, please consider staying home and celebrating with members of your household. The holiday season is all about showing how much we care about those around us and what you can do is take actions now and put protective measures in place to protect yourself, protect the people you love and protect this community. The spread of COVID-19 can be slowed – it can be done, but one person is not going to do it. It takes a team…together we can make a difference.”

COVID-19 Vaccine

New Hanover County Public Health and Emergency Management, are working with state and hospital partners on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in four phases, starting with frontline healthcare workers and those at highest risk of exposure and serious illness. On Thursday, FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended the Moderna Inc. vaccine join the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine in receiving emergency use authorization. Vaccine distribution will take several months, and residents should continue protective measures and the three Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Those hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccines can learn about vaccine development, trials and the emergency use authorization process at and More on New Hanover County COVID-19 vaccine distribution can be found at

COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Panel Discussion

The New Hanover County Office of Diversity and Equity and New Hanover Regional Medical Center will host a virtual panel discussion, COVID-19 Vaccine and the Minority Community, on Monday, December 21 at 4 p.m. The event will be streamed on the county and hospital’s Facebook pages and Residents are invited to join the conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine with leaders from Public Health, NHRMC, NAACP and others. The panel will discuss the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination plans, address concerns about the vaccine and consider issues faced by minority communities. Learn more about the event at

Coronavirus Call Center Holiday Hours

The New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center continues to operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Call Center will follow the county’s holiday schedule and be closed Thursday, December 24 through Monday, December 28, open Tuesday, December 29 through Thursday, December 31, then closed January 1, 2021.

Have a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season

New Hanover County and New Hanover Regional Medical Center teamed up to share holiday wishes and safety guidance with the community. This holiday season, follow the three Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Guidance on testing resources, vaccine information, and ways to celebrate the holidays while slowing the spread of COVID-19 can be found at


To view the most recent case count data, information, updates and resources in New Hanover County, visit, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.


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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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