New Hanover County Update: COVID-19 cases, Vaccinations & Easing of Statewide Restrictions

Posted March 24, 2021 at 3:33 pm     Category: News ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Public Health continues to monitor COVID-19 in our community, conduct contact tracing on reported cases to help slow the spread of the virus, and actively administer the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the county. Below are several key takeaways for the community as we continue to combat this virus and get to a new kind of normalcy.

COVID-19 Cases

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 17,361 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Hanover County. Of that total, 16,527 people have recovered from the virus with 671 active cases currently. In addition, 163 people have died from the virus in New Hanover County, with 144 (or 88%) of those being 65 or older.

While most deaths have occurred in older adults, a large majority – nearly 88% – of the county’s reported cases have occurred in people under the age of 65. So while younger individuals may not have severe complications from the virus, they must remain vigilant because the increased threat comes when the virus is spread to older adults. That’s why it is important that each person takes action to protect themselves and those around them.

Vaccination Efforts

As of March 24, New Hanover County Public Health has administered a total of 37,095 COVID-19 vaccinations in the community (22,838 first doses and 14,257 second doses). In addition, through partnerships and collaborative efforts with local healthcare entities, more than 57,994 people in New Hanover County are partially vaccinated, and more than 40,447 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 according to the NCDHHS dashboard. That equates to 24.7% of the county’s population at least partially vaccinated and 17.3% fully vaccinated.

“We are seeing a good effect from vaccinations and continued protective measures like wearing a mask, remaining six feet from others, and washing our hands,” said Interim Health Director David Howard. “But the vast majority of our population is still not vaccinated – around 75 percent have not received the vaccine yet – so we can’t let our guard down. When it’s your turn to be vaccinated, we encourage you to take the opportunity and protect yourself and the people you love. All three approved vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing serious illness and death from the virus and are proven safe. If you’re questioning whether or not to get the vaccine, do your research and talk to your doctor to find out more about why it’s right for you.”

New Hanover County’s vaccination efforts are in line with the state’s plan and focused on Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 (note: those currently eligible in Group 4 include anyone ages 16-64 with a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for COVID-19 and people who live in congregate settings).

View information about each vaccine group here, and see what group of eligibility you are in by visiting If you have questions about the vaccine or want to learn more from reliable sources, visit the following websites: Public Health, NCDHHSCDC and FDA.

Statewide COVID-19 Restrictions

North Carolina’s COVID-19 key metrics are improving and vaccinations are increasing, so Governor Cooper announced yesterday a continued easing of restrictions. The mask mandate remains in effect, but Executive Order No. 204 increases occupancy capacities for businesses and facilities, and increases the mass gathering limit to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors beginning Friday, March 26 at 5 p.m. Specific occupancy increases within the Order are subject to masks and six feet of social distancing, and include:

  • Lower-risk settings (like museums, aquariums, retail businesses, salons, personal care and grooming businesses, and tattoo parlors) can operate indoors and outdoors up to 100% capacity.
  • Medium-risk settings (like restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, recreation establishments (e.g., bowling, skating, rock climbing), fitness and physical activity facilities (e.g., gyms, yoga studios, fitness centers), pools, and amusement parks) can operate indoors up to 75% capacity and outdoors up to 100% capacity.
  • Higher-risk settings (like bars, movie theaters, gaming facilities, conference centers and reception venues, lounges and night clubs, auditoriums, arenas and other venues for live performances, sports arenas and fields) can operate indoors and outdoors up to 50% capacity.

This Order also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments. View additional information in the state’s Frequently Asked Questions here.


New Hanover County typically shares a weekly COVID-19 update with the community on Fridays, but will be shifting those weekly updates to Wednesdays each week to provide a mid-week update.



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