Tuesday, 30 March 2021 18:28

COVID cases remain low in Richmond County; CDC warns of impending spike

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases remains relatively low, however, federal health officials warn of a potential future spike.

The Richmond County Health Department has reported 28 new cases in the past five days: 10 on Friday, 10 on Monday (which includes Saturday and Sunday) and eight on Tuesday. 

By comparison, there were an average of 33 cases per day during the month of January.

There are currently 45 active cases in the county and one person is hospitalized. There have been 4,344 positive test results, 41,495 negative results and 92 COVID-related deaths since last April.

FirstHealth reports that only 12 of its 353 patients are COVID-positive. On Monday, three patients were isolated at Scotland Memorial Hospital.

Richmond County Schools on Tuesday reported five cases at Richmond Senior High School: one staff member, two traditional students and two virtual students.

The school’s football team will miss its next two games after the team was put on quarantine Saturday.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Monday said she had a feeling of “impending doom” from another spike due to an increase in cases  loosened restrictions, multiple media outlets reported. Around mid-March, Europe experienced another spike in cases, which led to several countries reinstituting lockdowns.

Last week, Gov. Roy Cooper increased occupancy limits but kept the mask mandate in place.

North Carolina’s daily case numbers have been up and down, dropping as low as 823 on March 13, and have remained below 2,500 for most of the month, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The total has hovered in the 1,300s the past two days.

Walensky also extended the eviction moratorium — which some have argued she had no authorization to issue in the first place — through June 30.

Meanwhile, health officials continue to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

According to NCDHHS, 10,585 Richmond County residents are partially vaccinated and 7,145 are fully vaccinated.

There are three vaccines — made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — that have received emergency use authorization from the FDA. The first two require two doses about four weeks apart and the latter is a one-shot vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is the only one available in Richmond County.

NCDHHS has recruited coaches and NASCAR legend Richard Petty for public service announcements to convince North Carolinians to take the shot. 

N.C.-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is even offering one free doughnut per day at participating locations to customers who present their vaccination card. Those who choose not to get a vaccine can still claim a free doughnut and medium coffee on Mondays through May 24

Also last week, Cooper announced that all adults across the state would be eligible for vaccination on April 7 — three weeks ahead of President Joe Biden’s May 1 goal. 

But while Cooper was giving his press conference, FirstHealth and the Health Department announced that Richmond County was opening up availability to all starting March 25.

Most people who get vaccinated have no or mild reactions, and two to five per 1 million suffer from severe allergic reactions.

The New York Post reported Tuesday that a Virginia man’s skin “peeled off” after developing a rash all over his body as an adverse reaction to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC reports more than 145 million doses were administered in the U.S. from Dec. 14, 2020-March 29, 2021. Around 2,500 deaths of vaccine recipients were reported to the Vaccination Adverse Event Reporting System. However, the CDC says that a “review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths.”

To sign up for the vaccine locally, call 910-417-3030 and leave your name, date of birth and phone number. Local health officials ask that callers not leave multiple messages.

Vaccinations aren’t restricted by residency.

Weekly vaccinations are also available at Scotland Memorial Hospital. To register for the clinic in Laurinburg, call 910-291-7654 during the hours of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday for assistance.