LUMBERTON — While COVID-19 cases are on the rise around the state and country, fewer cases were reported in Robeson County over the past seven days, although the past week was the deadliest in the county in nearly two months.
The Robeson County Health Department reported 241 new COVID-19 cases in the seven-day period from July 13 through Monday, which comes to 17.2 cases per day. In the five-day period between Health Department reports on July 7 and 12, 126 cases were reported, or 25.2 cases per day.
There have been 17,862 reported virus cases in Robeson County over the duration of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, four virus-related deaths were reported in the county between July 13 and Monday, the most in a seven-day period in Robeson County since May 28 through June 4.
The county’s official pandemic death toll also took a jump because the county Health Department made a change in how it is reporting that data. They are now reconciling the local number of deaths with the number shown on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 dashboard, county Health Department Director Bill Smith said. Hospitals outside Robeson County often take time to report the county of residence, which may be one reason for the discrepancy, while the Health Department had been reporting based on the number of death certificates in their possession.
With this change, there have been 277 total virus-related deaths of Robeson County residents since the start of the pandemic, according to the local Health Department.
The county’s testing positivity rate has held steady at 7% since last week, Smith said. That rate is above stated goal of 5%.
There have been 37,199 first doses and 33,828 second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in Robeson County, according to NCDHHS statistics released Tuesday. About 28% of the population is at least partially vaccinated, Smith said.
Cases are up 66% nationally in the past week, providing a reminder of the importance of vaccination, Smith said.
“For those who think not being vaccinated only affects them, this is not always the case,” Smith said. “There are people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. Even if people around you are vaccinated, you can transmit the virus to others. You are allowing the virus to continue to replicate, which will create more mutations like the current variants.
“Simply, if you enjoy going to sports events, restaurants, bars, school, traveling, etc., you have to recognize that you will be the reason they have to close again. Many of these places cannot close and reopen — simple economics will not allow for it.”
Research has shown that the Delta variant, which the CDC says now accounts for 83% of U.S. cases, has a viral load 1,260 times that of the 2020 variant of the virus, according to Smith, who pointed out this is not a typographical error.
There were 5,988 cases reported statewide from July 14 to Tuesday, nearly double the rate just two weeks ago. There have been 1,025,826 cases reported in North Carolina during the pandemic.
However, the number of virus-related deaths in the state has dropped, from 49 two weeks ago to 32 between July 14 and Monday, continuing the downward trend seen throughout the first half of 2021. There have been 13,535 virus-related deaths in the state.
There were 612 virus-related hospitalizations in the state as of Tuesday, up from 469 on July 13.
There have been 4,739,035 first doses and 4,438,993 second doses of the vaccine administered in North Carolina.
The NCDHHS announced Tuesday a new At-Home Vaccination Hotline, which will allow caregivers, providers and individuals across North Carolina to schedule at-home vaccinations for residents who cannot leave their homes.
This is the result of a partnership between NCDHHS and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging.
“We are happy to announce that PTRC AAA will lead the statewide program and staff a hotline to help people who may be unable to reach a doctor’s office or vaccination location due to health issues, age or other reasons,” said Dr. Many Cohen, NCDHHS secretary. “COVID-19 vaccination offers the best protection against hospitalization and death to people who are dealing with serious health issues at home. Nearly all COVID-19 hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, and even those who stay home can become infected.”
To schedule an at-home vaccination, call the hotline at 1-866-303-0026 or register online at www.ptrc.org/covid. A PTRC vaccination specialist will follow up to schedule an at-home appointment.