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Data shows COVID-19 more prevalent in 49 & under age category

As the number of new cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across the region, data is showing those impacted the most by this current wave of the virus are age 49-and-younger.

That is in stark contrast of the COVID’s most significant assault on the region, which covered the Nov. 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 timeframe. At that time, those most at risk were ages 65-and-over. With nearly 70 percent of that age group now fully vaccinated in northeastern North Carolina, the virus appears more commonplace in the younger, unvaccinated age group.

“We continue to see our case counts increase at levels similar if not exceeding the first wave,” said R. Battle Betts Jr., Health Director for Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS). “As you will see in our surveillance report, there is a definite shift in the age ranges of those impacted in this wave and we are seeing first-hand in our regional data how vaccinated individuals have a much higher level of protection. Over 70% of all new cases are in individuals 49 and younger. The time to get vaccinated is now – call us today to schedule your appointment.”

Positive cases of the virus rose again locally last week as follows (numbers are from Friday, Aug. 27):

Bertie County: 83 active cases (+24 from Aug. 20)

Northampton County; 81 (+20)

Hertford County: 74 (+14)

Gates County: 28 (+1).

This marks the fourth consecutive week that the number of new COVID-19 cases have increased across the four-county area. There were 24 new cases in Northampton during the week of Aug. 6. That same week noted 19 new cases in Hertford County and Bertie County, and 12 in Gates County.

One big breakthrough in the battle vs. COVID-19 is last week’s news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older.

“This is another milestone as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” noted Betts. “As the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the required high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We hope that the full approval of this vaccine will provide additional confidence to those who have not received their vaccine yet. Vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant, as our region and states continues to see a rapid increase in cases.

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.

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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