NEW HANOVER COUNTY N.C. (WECT) – Officials with New Hanover County Health and Human Services (NHCHHS) urged people to get vaccinated and follow safety precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays.
Data show positive cases have risen sharply since Thanksgiving.
“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.”
Howard added that doing things like getting vaccinated and wearing a mask when indoors will lessen the impact of the virus.
“It sincerely is a protective factor for everyone, getting the vaccine,” Howard said. “Especially for severe illness, hospitalization, and, let’s face it, that large hospital bill that comes after that event.
Having fallen to 2.7% on November 12, New Hanover County’s positivity rate has risen to 5.7% and the average rate of new cases per day has more than doubled from 14.5 to 29.7.
Over the summer, near the peak of the Delta variant surge, Howard and the health board reinstated the indoor mask mandate in New Hanover County. With this recent surge, Howard says he does not expect to have to take those same measures.
“We don’t have any anticipation of needing to do that,” said Howard. “We were in a pretty difficult spot with the Delta variant spreading so quickly. On that note, we don’t know yet for sure, with any certainty, how transmissible the omicron variant is and how fast it might spread.”
Howard says there are no confirmed cases of the omicron variant in the county. No cases of the variant have been reported from tests taken across North Carolina.
Click here to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine anywhere in North Carolina, or visit one of the two local vaccine clinics:
- Independence Mall clinic at 3500 Oleander Drive is open Monday and Friday from noon-5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from noon-7 p.m.
- The Health and Human Services clinic at 1650 Greenfield Street is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
After FDA and CDC approval Thursday, booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine are now available for anyone age 16 and above.
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