RALEIGH — Following a lack of first-dose supplies last week of COVID-19 vaccine for Avery County, county officials announced that it is again accepting appointments for first-dose vaccinations.

“Avery County Covid-19 vaccine phone line is now open for folks 65 or older. Please call (828) 733-8273 today to reserve a time to get your vaccine,” according to an email and voice message released to Avery County residents on Monday morning, Feb. 8. “This is for the first shot of the vaccine only. If you have already had your first vaccine shot, your next time is listed on your card you were given.”

According to the NCDHHS COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, a total of 1,390,947 doses had been administered statewide as of Feb. 8, with 1,250,584 doses administered through NC providers and 140,363 doses administered through the federal long-term program. NCDHHS data also indicated that a total of 15.1 percent of Avery County residents had received their first-dose vaccine as of Feb. 8, with just 1.3 percent of the overall county population having received a second-dose vaccination.

“Percent of population metrics are calculated using the entire North Carolina population (i.e., all ages). When a county has a population of fewer than 500 individuals for a specific demographic group, some data are suppressed to protect patient privacy. The state’s dashboard is the source for the most accurate and timely information for vaccine data for the state,” stated NCDHHS on its Dashboard homepage. “North Carolina’s information on people vaccinated comes from the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), a secure, web-based system provided for free to all who administer COVID-19 vaccinations. It helps vaccine providers know who has had a first dose of which vaccine to make sure people get the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. It also helps people register for vaccination at the appropriate time and allows the state to manage vaccine supply. First Doses Administered data include all first doses administered, regardless of whether the individual has also received a second dose of the vaccine. Second Doses Administered data include individuals who have completed the vaccine series. Information on vaccinations is confidential health information that is carefully managed to protect patient privacy. Information will not be shared except in accordance with state and federal law.”

Click to https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines for more information on the vaccines and vaccine distribution statewide, and to learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine rollout, click to YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.

Local, state and national statistics

As of Monday, Feb. 8, dashboard data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the total number of coronavirus cases rose by more than 38,000 cases statewide over the previous week, with the state reporting 799,279 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The state experienced another overall weekly decrease in hospitalizations over the past week, as NCDHHS reported on Feb. 8 that 2,339 individuals were hospitalized, an overall decrease of 442 patients.

NCDHHS reports that deaths in the state attributed to the virus are poised to crest the 10,000-person mark as 9,991 people have passed away in connection with COVID-19, including 649 North Carolinians who have died related to the virus over the past week.

NCDHHS reported on Feb. 8 that Avery County has reported a cumulative total of 1,732 positive community cases, an increase of 48 cases from the previous week. The department reports Avery with 17 deaths associated with the virus.

According to Toe River Health District’s most recent release of county case data reported on February 4, Avery County totaled 1,537 total positive cases, with 161 new positive cases over the span of time from Jan. 14 to Feb. 3, with 37 active positive cases and 1,473 total county residents having recovered from the virus.

In a January 18 press release, TRHD added that three Avery County residents had passed away in connection with COVID-19, one individual in their 60s, one individual in their 70s, and one individual in their 90s, raising the cumulative number of COVID-19-related deaths reported by the agency to 24 in all.

NC Department of Public Safety reported on Feb. 8 that the local prisons have 512 total positive cases between Mountain View Correctional and Avery/Mitchell Correctional facilities, with 429 cases having recovered and five active cases.

Avery and Watauga counties are now listed as two of 33 counties listed as an orange county, indicative of “substantial spread” in association with the NCDHHS County Alert System which identifies the highest levels of community transmission of COVID-19 statewide. Mitchell County is listed as one of six yellow counties, indicative of “significant spread.” The COVID-19 County Alert System as of its Feb. 4 update classifies 61 counties as red counties, denoting critical spread within their borders.

According to NCDHHS Dashboard data on Feb. 8, Avery reports 52 cases per 10,000 residents over the previous 14-day period. In comparison, Mitchell County reports 116 cases per 10,000 residents, while Yancey County reports 63 cases per 10,000 residents. Watauga County reports 61 cases per 10,000 residents, while Ashe County has 40 cases per 10,000 residents during the same 14-day period.

“Public health staff is working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to contain the spread of disease,” TRHD reported. “The Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County health departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.”

According to latest NCDHHS Dashboard data on Feb. 8, Mitchell County reported a total of 1,193 positive cases and 15 deaths. Toe River Health District reported on Feb. 4, however, that Mitchell County possessed 1,244 total cases, with 146 new positives over the time span of Jan. 14 to Feb. 3. TRHD reported 37 active positives, with 1,473 total recovered patients and 27 deaths.

NCDHHS reports Yancey County with 1,372 total cases as of Feb. 8 with 23 deaths. Toe River Health District’s latest published report on Feb. 4 notes Yancey County possessed 1,437 total cases, with 127 new positives over the time span of Jan. 14 to Feb. 3, with 15 active cases and 25 deaths.

“COVID is not gone just because we’re not reporting numbers regularly,” TRHD stated on a Feb. 4 social media post. “We’re focusing on vaccines right now which is taking all our time. We’ll post numbers when we can.”

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine has eclipsed 106 million worldwide cases, as the center reports more than 106.4 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the U.S. totaling 27.08 million cases in the nation as of Feb. 8. Johns Hopkins reports the United States with 464,840 deaths nationwide attributed to the virus.

The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs report 9,311,180 completed tests as of Monday, Feb. 8, according to N.C. DHHS.

The estimate of people presumed to have recovered from the virus as of Feb. 8 is more than 730,454 statewide, with the estimate provided each Monday afternoon by NCDHHS. NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.

In neighboring counties, Watauga County reports 3,890 positive tests, with 126 active cases and 28 deaths among residents, while Ashe County reports 1,925 positive cases, with 46 active cases and 40 deaths as of Feb. 8, according to AppHealthCare data.

Caldwell County has 8,191 positive tests as of Feb. 8 with 59 deaths, while Wilkes County has 5,671 reported cases and 92 deaths, according to NCDHHS Dashboard data.

NCDHHS reports McDowell County with 4,485 cases and 54 deaths. Burke County reports 8,738 cases and 115 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.

In Tennessee, Johnson County reports 2,130 cases with 37 deaths, while Carter County reports 5,429 cases and 139 deaths as of Feb. 8, according to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health.

Statewide, Mecklenburg County has reported the most total positive cases with 90,473. Wake County is reporting 69,211 cases and Guilford County reports 37,108 cases, according to Feb. 8 NCDHHS statistics. NCDHHS data reveals that a total of 89 of North Carolina’s 100 counties report more than 1,000 total positive COVID-19 cases.

The reported testing numbers could be incomplete due to differences in reporting from health departments and other agencies. Sources include Toe River Health District, AppHealthCare, NCDHHS, Caldwell County Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health.

Updated news and information on the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response can be found by clicking to covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

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