NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new tool to help individuals and communities determine what protective measures should be taken in public settings to minimize impacts of COVID-19 on overall community health.
The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level metrics system uses three pieces of local data – new COVID-19 hospital admissions, local hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases – to determine community impact and guide prevention strategies. Impact is ranked at low, medium or high levels, with high being the only level that recommends indoor mask usage for all residents, regardless of health or vaccination status.
Based on our community’s current data and the CDC’s metrics, New Hanover County is currently rated at a medium impact level, meaning everyone should continue to take precautions like getting tested and ensuring vaccinations are up to date, but mask use is optional. At this community level, the CDC encourages individuals who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease to consult their healthcare provider about whether they should wear a well-fitting mask.
A look at the community levels by county throughout the United States and additional information on how data is used to shape this system is available here.
“A key driver in our fight against COVID-19 has been to limit severe illness and hospitalizations from the virus, in order to save lives and avoid straining our healthcare system which is needed for so much more than just COVID illnesses. So, this new guidance from the CDC certainly shows that the commitment of our citizens here in New Hanover County to get vaccinated and boosted is working as we are limiting the burden on our hospital and slowing the spread of this virus,” Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell said. “While being at a medium level is good, we would like to see New Hanover County reach the low level of these metrics. The best way to help these numbers continue to trend in that direction is to encourage those who have not been vaccinated to do so. If you have been vaccinated but have not received a booster, please take time to do that as well.”
Based on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level metrics, more than 70 percent of Americans live in an area rated at either low or medium, meaning a mask requirement is not recommended. The CDC has noted that individuals who want to wear masks should continue to do so, and that anyone with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of the community level.
The Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street) is continuing to offer COVID vaccines and boosters throughout the week. Appointments can be made by signing up at TakeMyShot.NC.gov. Vaccines and boosters are available during the following days and times:
Additionally, local healthcare providers and pharmacies are offering the vaccines to anyone five and older, so individuals and families are encouraged to contact their provider to ask health-related questions and learn more about the vaccines.
For more information on the Pandemic Operations Center or vaccines, visit Health.NHCGov.com/Coronavirus or call the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800.
Free rapid testing is also available at the Pandemic Operations Center during set days and times. Learn more about testing here.
COVID-19 Community Data, as of March 3:
View additional COVID-19 information and data at Health.NHCgov.com.