Local COVID-19 cases trend downward, but 9 deaths this week highlight importance of vaccination efforts

Posted February 26, 2021 at 4:33 pm     Category: Emergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Over the past week, New Hanover County had an increase of 443 COVID-19 cases – for a total of 16,185 cases since the start of the pandemic; and of that total, 14,423 people have recovered from the virus. In addition, 153 people have died from the virus, an increase of nine in the past week. Of these nine people, eight were over the age of 65 and one was in their 40s. All were at risk of severe illness because of age or underlying health conditions.

“We are seeing a positive trend in New Hanover County that shows our COVID-19 cases, patients hospitalized from the virus, and percent positivity rate are all decreasing, which is very promising,” said Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko. “But we are still having too many people die from the virus, and most are older adults. COVID-19 is going to be endemic in the United States, meaning it will have a constant presence, like the seasonal flu. This means that, just like the flu, a strong vaccination operation will be needed to prevent deaths, keep people out of the hospital, and reduce the severity of symptoms from the virus.”

New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Public Health plans to continue vaccinating adults 65 and older in the coming weeks, to ensure at least 72% or more of that population has been vaccinated. Currently, according to the state’s dashboard, around 56% of those 65-74 years old and 65% of those 75+ years old have been vaccinated with first doses.

In addition to Groups 1 and 2, the county began vaccinating education staff this week, at the Governor’s direction. The county and New Hanover Regional Medical Center partnered and vaccinated around 2,000 PreK-12 and childcare staff from the county’s public, private, and charter schools and child care facilities this week. The county and hospital are partnering on a second vaccination event for education staff to take place next week, and those details are being provided directly to school and child care facilities.

“We will continue vaccinating healthcare workers, adults 65 and older, and education staff; and we are determining now when the county will move fully into Group 3 of the state’s vaccination plan,” said Fayko. “We want to make sure a greater percentage of the county’s adults over 65 have been vaccinated, because that will help us continue to decrease severe cases and hospitalizations from the virus, and build a safety net for that population. We do not have a timeline yet of when we will move into Group 3 further, but we will continue to keep the public informed of our progress.”

Residents can see what group of eligibility they are in by visiting FindMyGroup.NC.gov.

As of February 26, New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Public Health has administered a total of 25,458 doses in the community (15,336 first doses and 10,122 second doses). In addition, through partnerships and collaborative efforts with local healthcare entities, more than 61,185 total doses have been administered in New Hanover County (36,462 first doses and 24,723 second doses), according to the NCDHHS dashboard.

As vaccination efforts continue, residents are encouraged to keep practicing the three Ws to slow the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask, wait six feet from others, and wash hands frequently.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as additional resources and information, at Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.

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To view the most recent case count data, information, updates and resources in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus, 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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