NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – As of today, eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine has expanded to Groups 1 through 5 of the state’s vaccination plan, and New Hanover County Public Health officials encourage anyone 16 and older to get the vaccine as soon as they can. In addition, significant community spread is still occurring in New Hanover County and the percent positivity rate is currently 6.3%, according to the NCDHHS, making vaccination efforts increasingly important for all residents.
“We are seeing an uptick in positive cases, particularly in younger age groups like 18 to 24 year olds, and our overall 14-day metrics have increased in testing percent positivity,” said Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA. “So this expanded vaccine eligibility comes at a critical time, because we want to slow the spread of the virus and prevent serious illness and deaths. We aren’t near the post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases we saw earlier in the year, but some of our trends are not where we want them to be. We have to continue to take this virus seriously, and we have to keep wearing our masks and remaining six feet from others. Now that the weather is warming up, make plans to be outside instead of inside if you are in a group and don’t stop washing your hands – that is a critical component to slowing the spread.”
Over the past week, 289 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in New Hanover County – for a total of 18,065 cases since the start of the pandemic; and of that total, 17,099 people have recovered and 163 people have died from the virus. The number of deaths from COVID-19 did not increase over the past week, which is the second week in a row that no additional deaths of county residents were reported.
As of April 7, New Hanover County Public Health has administered a total of 42,863 COVID-19 vaccinations in the community. In addition, through partnerships and collaborative efforts with local healthcare entities, more than 65,334 people in New Hanover County are partially vaccinated, and more than 53,581 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 according to the NCDHHS dashboard. That equates to 27.9% of the county’s population at least partially vaccinated and 22.9% fully vaccinated.
With three safe and effective vaccines available that all prevent serious illness and death, Public Health officials encourage residents to get the vaccine that is available to them right now and not wait. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people ages 16 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 and older.
Testing is also a critical resource and an important way to slow the spread of the virus. Anyone, regardless of symptoms, can access free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing from now through April 30 at a testing site on UNCW’s campus. OptumServe is operating the site in partnership with New Hanover County Public Health, UNCW & NCDHHS. Testing is open to anyone, but appointments are required.
To view the most recent COVID-19 case count data, vaccine information, and resources in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus, call our Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.