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State and local COVID-19 update

Again, state officials pleaded with North Carolinians to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“I remain very worried,” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

“North Carolina needs to drive down our numbers. To do that, we all need to change our holiday plans if you haven’t already,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “The best and safest option is to connect virtually or by phone. But if you gather in-person, keep it small and do it outside. Get a COVID-19 test before you go. Spread out the tables and chairs. Follow the modified Stay at Home Order and be home by 10 p.m. And, always, always wear a mask,” at the Dec. 22 news conference.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, North Carolina reported 5,255 new cases of coronavirus and 3,001 people hospitalized with the virus. So far in this pandemic, 6,291 North Carolinians have died from COVID-19.

On Dec. 22, only 414 empty but staffed ICU beds are available statewide. Some 2,035 ICU beds are in use. For inpatient beds, 15,938 beds are in use with 5,075 beds empty but staffed.

Cooper warned state residents not to fall for vaccination scams. Phone calls are promising a waiting list. None exists.

Currently, vaccines are administered to Phase 1a people, including health care workers at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 – doctors, nurses and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients, and those giving vaccines to these workers and long-term care staff and residents – people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.

Across the region, the impact of coronavirus continues increasing.

Dare County – On Monday, Dec. 21, new cases numbered eight people, all females, with coronavirus. Over last weekend, 52 new cases were added to the total. Some 103 residents have active positive cases with 95 in home isolation and eight hospitalized.

Dare County’s cumulative total of coronavirus cases is 1,388 at Dec. 21.

Deaths remain the same at five.

On the state’s County Alert System, Dare County is now orange, up one category. Orange shows substantial community spread.

Hyde County – As of Dec. 22, the cumulative total of cases is 255, an increase of 23 cases since Friday, Dec. 18. Some 39 are active, positive cases. Deaths from the coronavirus remain at five. On the state’s County Alert System, Hyde County is new red, the highest of the three ratings.

As a result of the increasing cases, Hyde County has restricted public access to county offices effective Dec. 16. These changes remain in effect until Jan. 5, at which time the situation will be reevaluated. County manager Kris Cahoon Noble says “call before you come.”

Tyrrell County – On Dec. 20, Martin-Tyrrell-Washington Health District reported that Tyrrell County’s total, cumulative case number is now 164. Some 156 people have recovered. On Dec. 20, five cases were active. Three individuals have died in the county due to coronavirus. On the County Alert System, Tyrrell County is now orange, showing substantial community spread.

Camden, Currituck, Pasquotank counties – On Dec. 21, 2020, Albemarle Regional Health Services published the following case information:

Camden: 251 lab-confirmed cases, with 59 cases now active. Camden County has lost five people to the coronavirus. Camden is experiencing substantial community spread noted with orange, which is the middle rating of the three on the County Alert System.

Currituck: 563 total lab-confirmed cases an increase of 41 cases since Dec. 17. Some 198 cases are active. Currituck County has lost 10 people to coronavirus. A facility outbreak with six total cases is noted at Currituck Health and Rehabilitation.

Pasquotank: 1,506 lab-confirmed cases, an increase of 118 since Dec. 17. Active cases number 153. COVID-related deaths in the county number 37 people. In the County Alert System, Pasquotank is red, signifying critical community spread. Facility outbreaks at nursing homes are noted at Citadel Elizabeth City with four staff cases and Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation with two staff cases.

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