Wednesday, 18 August 2021 19:28

53 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County in two days

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53 new COVID cases reported in Richmond County in two days William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — More than 50 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Richmond County the past two days.

The Richmond County Health Department announced 23 new cases on Wednesday and 30 new cases on Tuesday.

Since July 21, the second-largest age group with positive cases has been those aged 0-18. There have been 130 new cases among children in the past four weeks — 100 in the first week — with the overall total now at 1,010.

The age group with the most cases is the 51-64 cohort, currently at 1,090, up from 996.

All other age-group totals remain below 1,000.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 5,256 new cases on Wednesday, up from 3,575 the previous day. Two days, Aug. 8 and 13, have seen more than 6,000 cases since the recent surge began in late July.

Like the past several reports, the Health Department did not release the number of active cases in the county.

However, the daily update did include 17 COVID-related hospitalizations.

FirstHealth reports that 89 of its 389 patients (23%) are COVID-positive; and 36 patients at Scotland Memorial Hospital are isolated. FirstHealth had 100 COVID patients last week.

Statewide COVID hospitalizations continue to rise, inching closer to 3,000, with 2,930 patients on Tuesday, according to DHHS.

During a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper again encouraged North Carolinans to get the vaccine, with the state’s rate rising to 48% of the total population.

“We are putting all our energy and laser focus on the vaccination effort. It is encouraging that our state’s vaccine rate has increased in recent weeks, but we need to double down on that progress,” said Cooper. “If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, make time to get your shot or talk to your doctor today. And throughout it all, never lose sight of our North Carolina’s resilient spirit. We can beat COVID for good.”

In Richmond County, 14,134 residents have been vaccinated, making 36% of the full population and 42% of the eligible population of those 12 and older.

Because of limited supplies of the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one authorized for kids aged 12-17, Interim Health Director Cheryl Speight said the Health Department is limiting it to the younger population and giving the Moderna shot to adults. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is no longer available through the Health Department.

The governor also lauded state businesses for requiring proof of vaccination, including Live Nation, which recently announced that it would require verification or a negative test result from its employees, performers, crew members and attendees.

“Live Nation is committed to finding the best ways for shows to continue and to bring live music back to North Carolina,” said Jeannine Benson, vice president of regional venue operations at Live Nation. “We are working to ensure that we are continuing to do shows in the best way for staff, artists, crew members, fans and our community. We are looking forward to continuing to bring the magic of live music to North Carolina.”

Despite that, country singer Garth Brooks announced Wednesday that he was canceling five shows, including his upcoming concert at Bank of America Stadium.

"In July, I sincerely thought the pandemic was falling behind us,” Brooks said in a statement. Now, watching this new wave, I realize we are still in the fight and I must do my part. ....So, it is with a heavy heart we announce the decision to cancel all 5 shows but with a hopeful heart, we will reschedule and start over when this wave seems to be behind us."

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Rolling Stones are still scheduled to play the venue Sept. 30, as well as the rest of the dates on the No Filter Tour. However, the Stones will be without longtime drummer Charlie Watts, who is recovering from surgery.

Vaccines are available at the Health Department Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays from 8-11 a.m. There is no charge and no appointment necessary.