COVID death toll rises locally

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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COVID-19 related deaths as well as outbreaks of the virus at local congregate living facilities increased dramatically across the region last week.

There were six deaths in the Roanoke-Chowan area, as reported last week by Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS). Four of those deaths were in Hertford County. Two individuals were over the age of 65 and two were in the 25-49 year age range. One death was associated with a facility outbreak.

ARHS also reported two deaths last week in Bertie County. One individual was over the age of 65 and one was in the 25-49 year age range.

The loss of those individuals increased the COVID-19 death toll to 236 in the R-C area since the pandemic began in March 2020.

To date, Hertford County’s death toll is 81 followed by Northampton (75), and Bertie (60) and Gates (20).

Outbreaks at local congregate living facilities also remain problematic. ARHS reports 170 cases (100 inmates and 70 staff members) of the virus at Bertie Correctional Institute in Windsor; 45 cases (36 residents / 9 staff) at Accordiius at Creekside Care of Ahoskie; 22 cases (14 staff / 8 residents) at the Brian Center in Windsor; 17 cases (12 staff / 5 residents) at Accordius of Gates; 10 cases (9 staff / 1 resident) at the Gates House; 8 cases (5 staff / 3 residents) at Three Rivers Health & Rehab of Windsor; 7 cases (4 staff / 3 residents) at the Windsor House; and 5 cases (2 staff / 3 residents) at the Ahoskie House.

While health agencies serving the R-C area reported decreases last week in the number of active cases, they did so with words of caution, saying that data is not exact due to the abundance of home tests that are not reported.

As of Jan. 26, the Northampton County Health Department reported 255 active cases, down from 334 one week prior.

ARHS reported 93 active cases last week in Hertford County (down from 96 the previous week); 77 cases in Bertie (111 the previous week); and 38 in Gates (a decrease of two cases).

Because of the data missing from home testing, ARHS said it will discontinue the practice of providing information on the number of active cases within its eight-county service district, which includes Bertie, Gates and Hertford.

“When trying to determine levels of activity throughout our community, there are numerous sources we can look to, including state and federal data, and while not one source alone will give you the full picture, they do provide insight into what is going on and the precautionary steps we can take, much like data sources that examine influenza activity and other illness,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts Jr.

“In order to remain safe and healthy you need to stay up to date on your vaccine, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, stay home when you are sick, get tested and isolate if you are COVID positive. These preventive measures are key components to continuing to navigate this pandemic along with any respiratory or viral illness we may face,” Betts added.

Northampton County Health officials said that due to large amounts of data coming into the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the number of cases may not reflect the current Northampton County positive cases at the moment.

COVID-19 vaccinations and testing remain available in the local area. For more information contact the Gates County Health Dept. (252-357-1380), the Bertie County Health Dept. (252-794-5322), the Hertford County Health Dept. (252-862-4054) or the Northampton County Health Department (252-534-5841).

Vidant Health has 14 locations across eastern North Carolina to help you get tested for COVID-19. If you need a test, please visit to find a Vidant testing location near you. Due to significant demand for COVID testing, please expect delays.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 20,286 newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 across the state on Jan. 26, up from 17,474 on Jan. 19. The daily percent positive stood at 32.4% last week, down from 35.9% one week prior.

The number of patients hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 issues also increased last week to 5,090 (up from 4,689 on Jan. 19.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reminds everyone that the COVID-19 vaccine is available for free to all who want it. Vaccination is now open to everyone 5 and older. Visit to find a location.

To strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19, boosters are now available to all North Carolinians ages 12 and older. You should get a booster as soon as you are eligible.

If you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get your booster five months after your second shot. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can get your booster two months after your shot.

You can choose any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for your booster shot. Limited preliminary evidence suggests that booster doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines — Moderna or Pfizer — more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC also recommends a third dose of Pfizer for children ages 5 to 11 who have compromised immune systems.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, visit or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center for free at 1-888-675-4567.

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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