By WECT Staff | December 4, 2020 at 4:35 PM EST – Updated December 4 at 4:35 PM
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County health officials urged people to continue protective measures following a sharp rise in daily case numbers of COVID-19 since November 14.
“We are seeing a stark increase in COVID-19 in our community, and yesterday as the state announced its highest daily case count, we also saw our highest daily case count locally with 107 new COVID-19 cases reported in New Hanover County,” said New Hanover County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA.
In the last three weeks, 14 more people have died bringing the county death toll to 61.
Last week, state officials announced the expected receipt of the first vaccines in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, county officials continue to refine the vaccination plan that has been in development since September. Distribution will take place in four phases:
- Frontline healthcare workers, first responders, staff and residents in nursing and long-term care homes and adults 65+ with multiple underlying health conditions.
- People living in congregate living settings, individuals with chronic health conditions and people from marginalized communities.
- Frontline workers in other essential businesses, K-12 school children and college students.
- Remaining general public.
“We are working through every facet of our plan, from storage and staffing to facilities and traffic flow,” said New Hanover County Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Diana Vetter Craft. “As vaccines are approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA, we will leverage everything we have to share information about vaccines, what phase of distribution we’re in, and how to access a vaccine here in our community.”
Although relief in the form of a vaccine is now within reach, officials don’t want people to get complacent as full implementation of the vaccination program is expected to take up to nine months.
“Case investigations show that social gatherings and outings where protective measures like face coverings and social distancing are not being followed are a major contributor to the more prevalent spread of the virus in our community. And, it’s the transmission in the community that puts our more vulnerable neighbors in nursing homes and congregate living at higher risk, as well as introduces the virus to school and childcare settings,” said Turner.
Public health officials urge continued diligence to protect yourself, family, friends and those you don’t know. At-risk people or those with underlying health conditions can become infected by individuals who show no symptoms and don’t follow recommended guidelines.
Officials advise the three Ws—wearing a face covering, waiting six feet from others and washing your hands—to safely continue reopening and increasing economic and social activity.
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