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COVID death toll rises again locally

A resident of Gates County has unfortunately become the latest local victim of the COVID-19 virus.

Albemarle Regional Health Services ARHS) said in its weekly summary on Friday, Sept. 3 that there nine COVID-related deaths in the region last week. One was a Gates County resident; two were in Currituck County; and six in Pasquotank County.

Eight of the nine deaths, to include the one in Gates County, were over the age of 65.

The COVID-related death was the first since late April in Gates County.

With the exception of Gates County, the number of active cases of the virus rose again locally last week as follows (numbers are from Friday, Sept. 3):

Bertie County: 100 active cases (+17 from Aug. 27)

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.

As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within the region continues to increase, it is important to follow guidance from NC DHHS including:

If you are not fully vaccinated, you should:

  • Get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalization and death, including from the Delta variant, and reduces community spread of the virus.
  • Practice the 3 W’s. Wear a face covering in all indoor and, crowded outdoor public settings. Wait 6 feet apart in all public settings. Wash your hands often.
  • Not gather with unvaccinated individuals who do not live with you. If you do gather, wear a mask, stay outside and keep 6 feet of distance.
  • Not travel. If you do travel, get tested 1-3 days before and 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self – quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • Get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and quarantine and get tested if you’ve been exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.

If you are fully vaccinated, you should:

  • Wear a mask in all 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. Consider wearing a face covering in crowded outdoor settings where you cannot maintain 6ft physical distancing.
  • Get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. After an exposure to a person with COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask around others for 14 days after exposure or until you get a negative test result.

“It is also important to remember, that while mandates and executive orders may not be in place at this time, our efforts and following recommendations based on spread is extremely important,” said R. Battle Betts, Jr., ARHS Health Director. “We don’t need a mandate to tell us to do the right thing for others.

“NC DHHS has updated various guidance documents and these recommendations are crucial to ensuring the safety and wellness of our communities,” he continued. “This includes guidance for faith-based groups, weddings and gatherings, and more. Community spread is very high at this time. The steps our communities take to limit the spread will ultimately impact the assurance of in person instruction for our schools and community spread overall. It will help us put this second wave behind us.”

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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