NORTH CAROLINA — The state's COVID-19 metrics are starting to stabilize, but the residual effects of the outbreak are being felt as the death toll grows.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed 2,665 new cases Monday after 5,805 were reported in Friday's data.
The number of deaths rose by 127 to 16,235 total Monday.
The number of hospitalized patients was down by 347 for a total of 3,012.
The percent positive rate is 9.0%, up from Friday's 8.6%, according to the health department.
Case rates have been in the thousands each day as the highly contagious delta variant fuels a new spike.
However, there was a glimmer of good news last week as Gov. Roy Cooper and the Coronavirus Task Force gave an update on the state's metrics.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said North Carolina’s metrics on new cases, hospitalizations and percent-positive are leveling out, which she called "positive news."
But the numbers are still very high, Cohen said.
“Unfortunately, people are still getting very sick,” she said.
“It’s positive that our trends are leveling, but we know these numbers are still too high. It’s up to us to do our part to drive them down,” Cooper said. “We remain laser focused on helping more North Carolinians make the decision to get vaccinated.”
Cooper said he and Cohen are sending letters this week to faith leaders around North Carolina to ask for their help in the vaccination campaign.
“Some houses of worship have served as vaccination sites and I hope more will,” Cooper said. “Faith leaders from all religious backgrounds can be trusted figures in their communities. Their word can go a long way in encouraging people to talk with doctors and understand that vaccines are safe."
North Carolina's Vaccine Distribution
North Carolina still lags behind the country in vaccination rates, but the state's rate is improving. It is estimated that 64% of the adult population in North Carolina is now fully vaccinated, while 69% are at least partially vaccinated.
About 35% of 12 to 17-year-olds are vaccinated and 40% of 18 to 24-year olds, according to DHHS.
Cohen said DHHS has been working with schools and other organizations to reach children and young adults. She said she's been doing Tik Tok videos to reach a younger audience.
The coronavirus vaccine rollout in North Carolina got off to a slow start initially, but the pace picked up. This is the biggest vaccination campaign in the history of the United States. Since the beginning of 2021, the campaign has gone from not having enough doses to go around to having plenty of vaccine available and trying to convince holdouts to get their shots.
There are three vaccines available, from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, but the Johnson & Johnson only needs one shot.
Earlier in May, health officials said children between the ages of 12 and 15 could receive a vaccine.
Click here if you need to find a vaccination site.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
According to the CDC, there are several simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and others during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Clean your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- If you are sick, wear a facemask
- Clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces daily
If you or someone you know becomes ill, the CDC recommends taking the following steps:
- Stay home, except to get medical treatment
- Separate yourself from others, including animals, in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid sharing any personal household items
- Clean any "high-touch" surfaces on a daily basis
- Monitor your symptoms
- Remain on home isolation until instructed to leave
Any North Carolinian seeking additional information on COVID-19 can call NC 2-1-1, which is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community, or text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19.