NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County’s COVID-19 percent positivity rate and hospitalizations have decreased slightly over the past few weeks, showing early indicators that the severity of COVID-19 transmission in our community may be improving.
The county’s current percent positivity rate is 9.5 percent, compared to 11.8 percent reported last week and 13.9 percent the week prior. This is still nearly double the county’s desired threshold of five percent positivity but is an improvement from the end of August when the county’s percent positivity rate rose to more than 14 percent.
“We’re seeing a downward trend in some key COVID-19 metrics and that’s a sign that wearing face coverings, more people getting vaccinated, and other protective actions our community is taking are working,” said Public Health Director David Howard. “Hospitalization rates have also decreased slightly week over week, with a daily average of 76 COVID-19 patients treated locally, compared to averages of more than 100 patients per day in August. While this is good news, we must keep up these collective actions to see continued positive results, we’re moving in the right direction, all due to the great work by our residents and businesses. Reported new cases, while falling recently, are still high for our area, so please continue using face coverings indoors and if you’re not yet vaccinated, please consider doing so. The more we layer these protective actions, the faster we drive transmissions down, and the more we help others in our community avoid serious illness or death from COVID-19.”
New Hanover County’s mask mandate for all indoor facilities remains in place, and unvaccinated residents should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Public Health vaccine clinics’ hours, locations, and more information can be found at Health.NHCgov.com.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series, for people over 65, and those at high risk of severe Covid-19 or who are at risk of serious complications because of exposure to the virus in their jobs. Now the Centers for Disease Control and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will determine the next steps and how these boosters should be rolled out in the community.
“Public Health is following this conversation closely and will be relying on the CDC and NCDHHS for next steps on when we should begin providing booster shots and to whom,” said Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko. “In addition to our public health clinics, there are many providers that are now able to give the vaccine, including pharmacies and medical practices, so we will be relying on our system of vaccinators to continue providing first and second doses, as well as boosters when the CDC determines who is eligible.”
COVID-19 Community Data, as of September 23:
NHC Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics (no appointment needed):