Vaccination efforts show progress as COVID-19 metrics continue to drop in New Hanover County
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Over the past week, 293 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in New Hanover County – for a total of 16,874 cases since the start of the pandemic; and of that total, 15,100 people have recovered from the virus.
In addition, 159 people have died from the virus, an increase of five in the past week. Of these five people, four were over the age of 75 and one was in their 50s. All were at risk of severe illness because of age or underlying health conditions.
“This is the fourth week in a row that our weekly COVID-19 case count has significantly decreased (we had been seeing numbers in the thousands each week), and this week our percent positivity rate is also down to 5.1 percent,” Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA, said. “These are good signs – but we have to get more of our community vaccinated before we can relax our overall protective measures. Even if you have been vaccinated, please remember that you should continue wearing your mask in public. You aren’t considered ‘fully vaccinated’ until two weeks after you complete the vaccine series, so for most residents in New Hanover County, that’s two weeks after your second dose. If you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, it is two weeks after that one dose.”
The CDC has provided guidance to those who are fully vaccinated, noting that they can be without a mask under certain circumstances:
- They may visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing.
- They may visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
- They may skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
However, when going out in public, a mask is still required throughout the state for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
“This is progress,” Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko said. “And we are starting to see an increase in vaccine supply, as well as new providers who can give the vaccine in our community, which is welcome news as well. As those efforts continue to increase and as eligible groups expand, we will be able to reach even more people with a vaccine. The three approved vaccines are proven to decrease severe disease and hospitalizations from COVID-19, and now more than 67 million people in the US have received at least one dose. So when it’s your turn to get a vaccine, you can feel confident that it’s safe and effective.”
View a list of current entities in New Hanover County offering vaccine appointments when supply is available at Health.NHCgov.com.
Eligible Vaccination Groups
New Hanover County is currently vaccinating those in Groups 1, 2 and 3 (which includes heath care workers, adults 65+ and frontline essential workers). This week, Governor Cooper and the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that beginning on March 17, people in Group 4 of the state’s vaccination plan who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness and people who live in certain congregate settings will be eligible for vaccination. The rest of Group 4, which includes other essential workers will become eligible April 7.
New Hanover County will follow this guidance and begin vaccinating those eligible in Group 4 once Public Health opens additional appointments next week. To receive text or email alerts when appointments through Public Health are open, residents can sign up for COVID-19 updates here.
As of March 12, New Hanover County Health and Human Services’ Public Health has administered a total of 30,034 COVID-19 vaccinations in the community (18,054 first doses and 11,980 second doses). In addition, through partnerships and collaborative efforts with local healthcare entities, more than 47,261 people in New Hanover County are partially vaccinated, and more than 32,905 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 according to the NCDHHS dashboard.