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COVID claims one more life in Gates County

While the number of COVID-19 vaccinations only slightly increased last week across the Roanoke-Chowan area, there was one local death associated with the virus.

Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) reported a COVID-19 death in Gates County. That individual was over the age of 65.

That death broke a three-week stretch of no COVID-related deaths in the local four counties. It also marked the first COVID death in Gates County since the week before Christmas 2020.

As of Friday, April 23, the COVID death toll in the Roanoke-Chowan area stood at 189 since the pandemic began in March of last year. The county-by-county death toll currently stands at 68 in Northampton, 63 in Hertford, 45 in Bertie, and 13 in Gates.

The number of active local cases continues to fluctuate. As of April 23 there were 64 action cases in the R-C area: 25 in Hertford, 17 in Northampton, 16 in Bertie, and six in Gates. That marks a slight decline from one week prior where there were 72 active cases: 25 in Northampton; 24 in Hertford; 14 in Gates; and nine in Bertie.

ARHS has changed over to a total “appointment only” plan to administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine. Local residents can make a vaccine appointment by calling ARHS offices in Ahoskie (252-862-4054), Gatesville (252-357-1380), or Windsor (252-794-5322).

If you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with another provider such as Walgreens or CVS, you will need to return to that same facility for your second dose.

Due to the decreasing demand and interest for COVID-19 vaccines in individuals in Priority Groups 1-4, the Northampton County Health Department has started vaccinating any individual, ages 18 and older regardless of Priority Group. To schedule an appointment, call the Northampton County Health Department at 252-534-5841.

State health officials announced late last week that following a thorough safety review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have confidence that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and recommend its continued use to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that providers in the state resume administration of the vaccine now that the CDC and FDA have reaffirmed its safety.

The pause was made out of an abundance of caution after reports of 15 cases nationally of a rare type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. All of these cases occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 59.

This potential reaction is very rare as millions of people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of this type of reaction.

At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of this type of rare blood clot occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.

While it is extremely rare that you would have a serious adverse reaction, if you develop severe headache, backache, severe abdominal pain, new neurologic symptoms (like changes in vision, changed mental status or numbness), leg pain or swelling, shortness of breath, tiny red spots on your skin (called petechiae), or new or easy bruising within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider or seek medical care.

Currently, there are approximately 132,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available in North Carolina. The state expects to be able to order new shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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