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COVID-19 cases climb again locally

Another week…another rise in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Cases rose dramatically for the third consecutive week, nearly doubling in Northampton County where health department officials reported 61 active cases as of Friday, Aug. 20. There were 37 positive cases in Northampton one week prior (as of Aug. 13) and only 24 the week before that (Aug. 6).

Hertford County’s cases are also on the rise: 23 as of Aug. 6, 46 the week after, and now up to 60 as of Aug. 20.

The number of positive cases in Bertie County stood at 59 as of Aug. 20. That marks an increase from 38 on Aug. 13 and 19 on Aug. 6.

Gates County’s positive cases of the virus nearly doubled last week, rising from 14 to 27. The county reported only 12 cases as of Aug. 6.

Meanwhile, Gates County is the site of the area’s only COVID outbreak at a long-term care facility. As of Aug. 20, the Gates House reported two residents and one staff member testing positive, according to Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS).

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.

Last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the CDC announced they are recommending that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receive an additional dose of the Pfizer or Modern vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose of the initial two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series. It is not recommended that immunocompromised people who were vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get an additional dose at this time.

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. This includes people who have:

Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;

Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;

Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);

Advanced or untreated HIV infection; and

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

Individuals should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them before scheduling their vaccine appointment.

ARHS will be accepting appointments for third dose vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals living in the eight-county region. Effective Aug. 23, ARHS residents can begin calling their local health department to schedule a third dose vaccine appointment.

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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