LUMBERTON — As COVID-19 case numbers spike across the state and nation due to the emergence of the omicron variant and an expected spike after the holidays, Robeson County is no different.
There were 1,086 new virus cases reported in the county between in the nine-day period from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2, according to the Robeson County Health Department. In the seven-day periods from Dec. 11-17 and Dec. 18-24 there were 283 and 284 cases respectively, county Health Department Director Bill Smith said.
There have now been 27,754 total virus cases in Robeson County over the duration of the pandemic, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services statistics.
Six virus-related deaths were reported in Robeson County from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2; of these, four were unvaccinated individuals, the county Health Department said. There were four virus-related deaths reported in the county between Dec. 11-17 and three between Dec. 18-24.
The pandemic death toll in Robeson County is now 456.
The county’s testing positivity rate over the last 14 days is 16.8%, over three times the stated 5% goal, Smith said. He anticipates cases to continue going up this week cases resulting from Christmas gatherings continue, with more people now getting tested after the first of the year.
Of the 1,086 new cases since Christmas Day, some 671 have been female individuals, nearly 62% of the cases.
After American Indians had the highest per capita percentage of cases throughout most of late 2021, the recent spike has seen comparatively more cases locally in African Americans. Of the 1,086 cases since Dec. 25, 372 are American Indians, 357 are African Americans, 191 are white individuals, 30 are Hispanic; 76 are listed as “other,” and in 60 cases the race is unlisted.
There have been 58,455 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in Robeson County according to NCDHHS statistics, or 45% of the population; 52,485 individuals are considered to be fully vaccinated, or 40%.
In Robeson County, 30% of American Indians have received at least one dose, along with 44% of African Americans, 40% of whites and 36% of Hispanics, Smith said.
Among individuals age 5 to 11, 6% have received at least one dose, which is “a little more than 600 children,” Smith said; 30% of those age 12 to 17 have received one dose.
While Robeson County lags behind statistically in vaccinations, Smith used an example from a more heavily-vaccinated location to stress the importance of people being vaccinated.
“The Governor of Maryland noted that 92% of that state’s population was vaccinated, yet 75% of the hospitalized population were the 8% unvaccinated,” Smith said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control changed quarantine requirements last week, stating that anyone testing positive only had to isolate for five days if they remain asymptomatic.
“Basically (the requirements) have shortened for the general public, but became more stringent for health care workers,” Smith said. “With the definition of fully vaccinated meaning the basic series plus a booster when it is appropriate — six months after second shot for the two shot vaccines — there is a significant difference between unvaccinated, meaning anyone who has not received all the shots due, versus a vaccinated person, only people who have received all vaccines within the proper time parameters.”
As the U.S. set a new national record Monday with 1,017,376 new cases, North Carolina has had its most cases in a one-week period with 95,362 cases reported by NCDHHS in the last seven days through Tuesday. There have now been 1,742,844 total COVID-19 cases in the state over the course of the pandemic.
There have been 19,494 total virus-related deaths in North Carolina since the start of the pandemic; so far, the state has not seen a measurable increase in virus-related deaths during the current surge, even as case numbers spike.
Hospitalizations have increased greatly, however, with NCDHHS reporting 3,008 virus-related hospitalizations statewide as of Tuesday; this is nearly double the count of 1,575 just three weeks ago.
There have been 6,136,872 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in North Carolina, or 63% of the population; 5,707,618 are considered fully vaccinated, or 59%. There have been 2,542,000 booster shots administered statewide, NCDHHS says.
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