Safety precautions strongly encouraged as COVID metrics rise

Posted December 9, 2021 at 2:46 pm     Category: News ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – With COVID-19 monitoring data seeing a sizable uptick in recent weeks, officials with New Hanover County Health and Human Services are strongly encouraging area residents to get vaccinated and utilize safety measures to minimize viral spread as the holidays approach.

“We have seen a significant rise in two of the important transmission metrics we watch to determine where things stand in our community – new cases over the last two weeks and the percent of positive test results,” said Health Director David Howard. “Because these numbers have risen again, our county has moved up from moderate transmission to substantial transmission according to the CDC.  Widespread use of safety measures, in particular becoming vaccinated, can control the pace of transmission and the number of people who become seriously ill. If everyone pitches in as much as they can, everyone wins.”

On November 12, New Hanover County’s percent positive test rate had fallen to 2.7 percent, among the lowest in North Carolina. That number has since risen to 5.7 percent as of Thursday. Additionally, the average rate of new cases per day was 14.5 on November 12. In less than a month, it has climbed to an average of 29.7 new cases per day.

To slow the spread and keep everyone safe, residents are encouraged to get vaccinated if they have not already. COVID-19 vaccines are available for anyone ages 5 and older, and can be found at area pharmacies, health care providers and through Health and Human Services at two sites – the Health and Human Services Clinic (1650 Greenfield Street) and Independence Mall clinic (3500 Oleander Drive). The Health and Human Services Clinic is open Monday and Wednesday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Tuesday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The Independence Mall clinic is open Monday and Friday from noon-5 p.m., as well as Tuesday and Thursday from noon-7 p.m.

Appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine (pediatric, adult, and boosters) can be scheduled by visiting Walk-ups are accepted at both HHS locations and vaccines will be administered based on availability.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, Health and Human Services also encourages the use of a face covering, especially inside crowded, poorly ventilated areas, as well as regular washing of hands and social distancing when possible. All these measures help limit the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, like the seasonal flu.

HHS awaiting CDC approval for Pfizer COVID-19 booster

On Thursday, the FDA approved Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 booster shots for individuals 16-17 years old. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices must review the information for approval before the boosters will be available in New Hanover County. Health and Human Services will update the public once these boosters have been approved for those age 16-17.

COVID-19 Community Data, as of December 9: 

  • New Hanover County’s percent positivity rate is 5.7 percent (this represents positive COVID-19 tests as a percent of total tests performed countywide).
  • Over the past 14 days, 416 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county which is an average of 29.7 cases per day.
  • Approximately 149,736 New Hanover County residents (about 64 percent) have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and approximately 141,419 residents (about 60 percent) are fully vaccinated and protected from COVID-19.

View additional COVID-19 information and data at




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