NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC –New Hanover County Public Health officials were notified of 25 resident deaths from COVID-19 in the month of August, the highest number of deaths from the virus reported in a single month since January 2021. There were 2,544 new cases of COVID-19 reported in August, more than eleven times the 217 total new cases reported in June 2021.
“We continue to see our county’s COVID-19 metrics rival those from early 2021, when vaccines were just rolling out to the public,” said Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko. “We were in peak critical spread of COVID-19 in New Hanover County coming out of the holiday season, and here we are with COVID-19 threatening to overwhelm our community once again. We helped to reduce that spread over months of work to vaccinate our residents and by wearing masks when around others. We have the tools to fight this. We call on our residents to continue to wear a mask when inside and around others, and to urge the unvaccinated to get a COVID-19 vaccine. We must act collectively. It cannot be done alone. We must protect children too young to be vaccinated as they return to school. We must protect those at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, but also protect our heavily burdened healthcare system from further stress. And we must do it now to avoid more surges in the fall and to keep our entire community thriving.”
As Labor Day weekend approaches, residents are urged to consider limiting activities to those within your household, avoiding travel, or opting for safer outdoor activities. Masks are required in all indoor public settings throughout New Hanover County and recommended in crowded outdoor settings. All residents are urged to get a vaccine to help build protection from COVID-19 and to prevent severe illness or death. Public Health vaccine clinics’ hours, locations, and more information can be found at Health.NHCgov.com.
Countywide Face Covering Health Rule
Face coverings are required countywide in all indoor public places, as unanimously approved this week by the New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board in a new health rule. The health rule is meant to be a temporary measure that is revisited frequently by Health and Human Services. Its duration will be dependent on the community’s COVID-19 metrics improving, including – but not limited to – hospitalizations, case counts, and percent positivity rate. The goal is to reach a five percent or lower percent positivity rate, ensure the hospital system is not overwhelmed, and for overall case counts to be trending downward or remaining level without continued increases or spikes.
In addition to the county-wide health rule, New Hanover County Government has a specific Administrative Policy for Face Coverings that outlines face mask requirements for New Hanover County Government meetings. If someone from the public attends an indoor meeting of a county board or committee, they are required to wear a face covering, and exemptions will not be recognized.
COVID-19 Data in New Hanover County:
NHC Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics (no appointment needed)