NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Health professionals are seeing BA.5, the highly transmissible COVID-19 Omicron variant, continue to be the dominant viral strain across the country and its presence is being seen in New Hanover County’s CDC Community Levels – which remain at a Medium Level based on a case rate of 255 per 100,000 population.
To help keep our community as safe as possible, the Pandemic Operations Center is continuing to monitor local data points and provide resources to our community in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
“We are continuing to see elevated case numbers locally, but we are also fortunate to have many ways to protect the community, such as face coverings, testing and, of course, vaccines,” said Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell, “The overall goal is to stop or limit overall viral spread in the community, but making sure people who do catch COVID don’t place a burden on our hospital system is equally as important. That’s why vaccines remain so crucial. Even with viral mutations between the original Alpha version of COVID-19 and newer variants, vaccines can still significantly reduce the impact the virus has on the body.”
Vaccine availability has now been expanded for everyone 6 months or older and first or second boosters are available to those who are eligible. In addition to normal operating hours, the Pandemic Operations Team will be offering vaccines and boosters at an upcoming event at Nourish NC (3606 Market Street in Wilmington) on Wednesday, July 27 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Appointments for this event can be made at TakeMyShot.NC.gov but walk ups will also be welcome.
Appointments for vaccines and boosters at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street) can also be made by visiting TakeMyShot.NC.gov. Vaccines and boosters will be available during the following days and times:
The Pandemic Operations Center is also offering no cost rapid testing. An appointment is recommended and can be made by visiting this link, but again it is not required. Rapid tests will be available during the following days and times:
For more information on the Pandemic Operations Center, vaccines, boosters or testing, visit Health.NHCGov.com/Coronavirus or call the Pandemic Operations Call Center at 910-798-6800.
COVID dashboard update
This week, the New Hanover County-maintained COVID-19 dashboard was updated to focus on data that is important to understanding how the virus is impacting our community. The main datapoints the county will now feature are the 7-day case percent positivity and community level as reported by CDC, along with the percent of total population fully vaccinated, total cases in the county, and total deaths in the county as reported by NCDHHS. The dashboard can be found at health.nhcgov.com/coronavirus.
Fourth COVID vaccine receives FDA Emergency Use authorization
Earlier this week, use of Novavax, a protein-based, two-dose vaccine, was authorized by the FDA for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 18 and older. Next, the CDC will need to approve the use of the vaccine and then NCDHHS will provide guidance to local health officials on its availability and use. As more information is provided, the Pandemic Operations Team will share that with the community.
Medium COVID-19 Community Level
Following its weekly review of county-specific data, the CDC has kept New Hanover County at a medium COVID-19 community level. Recommended precautions for this level include speaking to a healthcare provider if you are at high risk about suggested mask wearing and treatment eligibility, being fully vaccinated and boosted, and testing for COVID if you develop symptoms or before being in contact with at high-risk individual. The CDC also recommends having a plan for rapid testing and to follow current quarantine and isolation guidelines if necessary. Mask usage at this community level is optional. The CDC plans to update community levels weekly, so residents can check the CDC website here to know the current community impact level.
COVID-19 Community Data, as of July 15: