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COVID’s local death toll rises

The local number of newly reported cases of COVD-19 and deaths from the virus continues to climb across the region.

There were four COVID-related deaths last week in northeastern North Carolina, to include one in Hertford County where the individual was between the ages of 25-to-49.

There was also a COVID death in Bertie County as well as in Currituck County. Both were in the 50-to-64 age range.

The fourth death was reported in Pasquotank County where an individual over the age of 65 died at Elizabeth City Health and Rehab.

The four deaths across the region last week matches the total from the previous eight weeks combined.

The R-C area death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 195 since the pandemic began in March 2020 (70 in Northampton; 65 in Hertford; 47 in Bertie; and 13 in Gates).

Meanwhile, the number of newly reported cases continues to climb locally, mostly due to the Delta variant of the virus. The number of active cases (135) last week across the four R-C area counties nearly doubled from the week prior (78). The current number of local active cases as of Aug. 13 are as follows (with the previous week’s total in parenthesis):

Hertford: 46 (23)

Bertie: 38 (19)

Northampton: 37 (24)

Gates: 14 (12)

“Once again cases have increased across the region and 98 of 100 counties in North Carolina have high or substantial levels of transmission according to the CDC,” said R. Battle Betts, Jr., Health Director of Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS).

“In our communities with low vaccination rates, the highly contagious Delta variant will continue to cause bigger increases in COVID-19 cases,” Betts added. “Vaccination is the best protection against the virus and we have seen within our eight counties that 96.5% of our new cases are in individuals who have not been fully vaccinated.”

Betts noted that the risk of getting COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is much greater than the extremely low risk of severe adverse effects from vaccination.

“Now is the time, make your vaccine appointment or seek out one of the many community events where the vaccine will be offered,” Betts stressed.

ARHS is continuing to accept vaccine appointments (ages 12-and-up) for first and second dose Moderna and Pfizer, along with Johnson and Johnson, at each of its local health departments. Those in the R-C area can call the Gates County Health Dept. (252-357-1380), the Bertie County Health Dept. (252-794-5322), or the Hertford County Health Dept. (252-862-4054). Those offices can also be contacted for COVID testing.

Northampton County residents can call 252-534-5841 to schedule an appointment for either a COVID-19 vaccine or test.

With 6,628 newly reported cases statewide on Aug. 13, COVID-19 is making yet another surge. The daily number of new cases in North Carolina had fallen as low as 290 on June 22.

On Aug. 10, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported the largest single day jump in hospital ICU admissions since the beginning of the pandemic. Weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations among people ages 20-49 are at an all-time high.

ICU admissions related to COVID-19 jumped to 557 on Aug. 10, up from 502 the day prior. From Aug. 3 through Aug. 9, there were 547 people ages 20-49 admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19. Overall, 2,179 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

NCDHHS recommends that everyone wear a mask in indoor public spaces if you live in area of high or substantial levels of transmission as defined by the CDC until more people are vaccinated and viral transmission decreases. In North Carolina, that is now all 100 counties.

“We are at a critical point in the trajectory of this pandemic. Layered protection is crucial to fight this more contagious Delta variant and weather the storm – vax up, mask up and urge others to do the same,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer.

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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