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New COVID cases, doubling of infections in nursing homes | Local News


New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and infections in congregate housing all soared this week as the highly contagious variant of omicron continued to spread across the Eight Counties Health District.

New cases rose by more than 2,260 this week, more than double the number of new cases reported last week. Nearly 26,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported across the eight counties since the pandemic began.

Two counties in the district – Pasquotank and Hertford – reported more than 400 new cases in a week, the first time this has happened. Two others – Bertie and Chowan – have reported more than 300 new cases. Two others – Currituck and Perquimans – reported more than 200 new cases. Gates reported 156 new cases and Camden reported 86.

Active COVID cases actually fell by 143 from last week. Every county in the district except two — Gates, which saw active cases increase by 47, and Bertie, which saw an increase of one case — reported fewer active cases.

New hospitalizations at area hospitals rose to 44 in the past seven days, with Sentara Albemarle Medical Center reporting the bulk of it. As of Friday, the Elizabeth City-based hospital was treating 28 patients for COVID-19 in about a third of its inpatient beds.

COVID cases in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the Albemarle District Jail more than doubled from last week. Albemarle Regional Health Services reported 114 COVID cases across 10 facilities last week. This week, the count was 275 cases in 16 establishments.

A quarter of the cases (69) were at the Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation Center. Accordius at Creekside reported the second highest number (45). Currituck House was third (25) and Windsor’s Brian Center and Chowan River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (23) had the fourth highest total.

ARHS also reported four new COVID-related deaths in the region this week. Three were Bertie County residents and one lived in Chowan County. All were over 65, ARHS said.

The eight-county region’s positivity rate — the percentage of COVID tests that come back with a positive result — rose to 33.6% for the week ending Jan. 8, an increase of nearly 5% from the previous test report.

“We’re definitely seeing record numbers right now,” ARHS Director R. Battle Betts Jr. said in a news release with Friday’s report. “Our hope is that this wave will be relatively short-lived, with the decrease in cases occurring as quickly as the increase.”

But exactly when that will be remains unknown, he said.

“What we do know is that vaccines prevent serious diseases,” Betts said.

He said about 87% of all intensive care admissions to North Carolina hospitals are people who haven’t been vaccinated.

ARHS released data on Friday showing it administered 479 more booster or third doses of vaccine this week. However, he only administered 127 first and 94 second doses.

According to data from the Centers of Disease Control, more than 107,200 first doses of the vaccine have now been administered to residents ages 5 and older in the eight counties. Nearly 81,600 residents are fully immunized with either two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The percentage of people fully vaccinated now exceeds 50% in six of the eight counties, with Camden (59.6%) and Currituck (57.4%) reporting the highest percentages. Only Perquimans (48.9%) and Hertford (48.4%) counties are still below the 50% vaccinated threshold. The percentages of people age 5 and older fully vaccinated in the other four counties are 56.3% in Chowan, 55.1% in Pasquotank, 52.3% in Gates and 51.5% in Bertie.

By comparison, only 20,082 residents 18 and older across the eight counties are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose. Gates (30.5%) has the highest percentage of residents who received a booster injection. Chowan and Perquimans follow with 29.5%, followed by Hertford with 27.1%, Bertie (25.5%), Pasquotank (22.9%) and Currituck (22.8%). Camden has the lowest percentage: 19.3%.

Betts also said the region was starting to see cases of the flu, and he urged residents to continue taking precautions to protect themselves from it — wearing a face mask, staying home when sick, and washing frequently. the hands – which are similar to guard against micron.