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No local COVID deaths last week; active cases still falling

With nearly 50 percent of the adult population in three of the four local counties receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Roanoke-Chowan area continues to see deaths and active cases of the virus greatly decline.

There were no local deaths from the virus last week and only two in the past six weeks.

The number of active coronavirus cases locally also continues to decline. As of Friday (May 7), there were 17 such cases in Bertie County (down from 19 the previous week); 11 in Hertford County (a decline from 22 one week earlier); 11 in Northampton (unchanged); and eight in Gates County (an increase of one).

Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) reported on May 7 that 49.25 percent of those ages 18-and-over residing in its eight-county district are fully vaccinated against the virus. Those numbers include 5,010 individuals in Bertie County; 4,394 in Hertford County; and 2,989 in Gates County.

ARHS officials said that 53.56 percent of those ages 18-and-over in the eight counties have received one dose of the available vaccines. Bertie (5,292 first doses), Hertford (4,646), and Gates (3,033) are included in that percentage.

As of May 7, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) showed on its website that 6,642 (34.1%) of the eligible population in Northampton County has received one dose of the vaccine. That same report noted that 5,941 (30.5%) Northampton citizens are fully vaccinated.

ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts Jr. stressed the importance of getting the vaccine.

“Once you are fully vaccinated there are many activities you can participate in safely,” Betts said. “Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, as well as moving freely outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues. In addition, fully vaccinated people who have been around someone who has COVID-19 do not need to stay away from others or get tested, unless symptoms develop. Vaccines are helping us get back to living our normal lives.”

ARHS has changed over to a total “appointment only” plan to administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine. Local residents can make a vaccine appointment by calling ARHS offices in Ahoskie (252-862-4054), Gatesville (252-357-1380), or Windsor (252-794-5322).

If you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with another provider such as Walgreens or CVS, you will need to return to that same facility for your second dose.

Due to the decreasing demand and interest for COVID-19 vaccines in individuals in Priority Groups 1-4, the Northampton County Health Department has started vaccinating any individual, ages 18 and older, regardless of Priority Group. To schedule an appointment, call the Northampton County Health Department at 252-534-5841.

Statewide, the number of newly reported cases dipped below 1,000 (974) on Monday. The record is 12,079 new cases reported on Feb. 3.

Another positive sign that COVID-19 is waning is there was only one death from the virus reported statewide on May 7.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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