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COVID death toll climbs in R-C area

Despite the number of active cases of COVID-19 falling last week across the Roanoke-Chowan area, the local death toll unfortunately increased by three.

Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) reported two deaths in Bertie County during the week of Oct. 3-9. One individual was in the 25-49 year age range and the other was over the age 65. Neither was associated with an outbreak at a long-term care facility.

The Northampton County Health Department reported one death last week as a result of medical complications from COVID-19.

The addition of these three individuals raised the death toll in the Roanoke-Chowan area to 207 since the pandemic began in March of last year. Seventy-two of those deaths have occurred in Northampton County followed by Hertford County (69), Bertie County (51), and Gates County (15).

Meanwhile, the number of active cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 declined in all four local counties last week were as follows:

Northampton County: 63 (a decrease of 26 cases from the previous week)

Hertford County: 45 (-5)

Bertie County: 29 (-25)

Gates County: 24 (-3)

In its weekly report, ARHS noted the number of residents fully vaccinated in its eight-county district rose to above 60 percent (60.64%). The report shows a total of 82,973 individuals fully vaccinated, to include 5,485 in Bertie; 4,861 in Hertford; and 3,850 in Gates.

As of Friday, Oct. 8, ARHS has also administered 1,276 booster doses (third shots of the Pfizer vaccine).

Appointments for the Pfizer booster doses will continue to be offered at each of the ARHS health department locations, as well as the other vaccines.

Those in the R-C area can call the Gates County Health Dept. (252-357-1380), the Bertie County Health Dept. (252-794-5322), or the Hertford County Health Dept. (252-862-4054). Those offices can also be contacted for COVID testing.

Northampton County residents can call 252-534-5841 to schedule an appointment for either a COVID-19 vaccine or test.

Statewide, the daily number of COVID-19 cases is on the decline. There were 11,337 new cases reported on Sept. 11. By Friday of last week, that number was at 4,078 (according to the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services). The number of those hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications has fallen by over 1,300 during that same time frame.

Both the Northampton County Health Department and ARHS stressed that NC DHHS and the CDC have emphasized the added importance of getting a regular flu vaccine during the 2021-2022 flu season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Flu vaccines have been shown to prevent flu illness and reduce the risk of hospitalizations and deaths.

“Getting a flu vaccine is something easy people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones and to help reduce the spread of flu this fall and winter,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts Jr. “October is a good time to get vaccinated, but as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can continue—even in January or later. The more people who are vaccinated against flu; the more people are protected from flu.

Please continue to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings, and wash your hands as we move into the traditional flu season. The same preventive and safety measures that help protect against COVID-19 are also strategies that will help protect you against the flu in addition to getting your flu vaccine,” Betts added.

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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