LUMBERTON – The number of new COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths in Robeson County have both registered substantial declines in the past seven days.
The Robeson County Health Department reported 440 new cases of the virus between September 21 and Monday, down from 778 from September 14 to 20, a drop of 43%. It comes as the county’s pandemic total topped 25,000 cases and stands at 25,091 on Monday.
There were 14 virus-related deaths reported in the county from September 21 through Monday, up from 23 between September 14 and September 20, which was the deadliest seven-day period of the pandemic. According to statistics from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 382 virus-related deaths in Robeson County.
The county’s test positivity rate is 11.2% in the past two weeks, county health department director Bill Smith said; that figure is 8.6% statewide, with both figures well above the stated target of 5%.
New cases continue to hit American Indians harder; of the 352 cases where the race of the individual has been recorded, 171 are American Indians, or 48.6%. There were 82 reported cases among white individuals, 68 among African Americans, 10 among Hispanics, and 21 listed as others.
There were 52,618 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in Robeson County, or 40% of the population, with 45,042 people considered fully vaccinated, or 34%, according to the NCDHHS.
Pfizer boosters are now on offer in Robeson County after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the boosters for use on Friday. Anyone 65 and over is eligible, as well as people 50 to 64 who have underlying health conditions. Eligibility for people aged 18 to 64 is based on underlying conditions or increased risk due to professional or institutional background.
The booster can only be given to people who received their last dose of Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, Smith said.
“The underlying conditions include a large portion of the population of Robeson County – cancer; kidney, lung, liver and heart disease; Diabetes; arterial hypertension; HIV infection; Down syndrome; dementia; pregnancy; sickle cell; obese or overweight; smoking; grafts; blows; and drug addiction, ”Smith said. “The health service will be open evenings and weekends to accommodate people looking for vaccines / booster shots. We need more people to get their first and second doses so that we can start to have some normalcy locally. “
UNC Health Southeastern reports 35 people infected with the virus in isolation at its medical center on Tuesday; among them, 33 are not vaccinated. There are 10 HIV-positive patients in the intensive care unit, with eight patients on ventilators.
Statewide, the NCDHHS reported 35,003 new cases between September 22 and Tuesday, compared to 42,547 cases reported from September 15 to 21. This brings the state’s total number of cases to 1,385,700 over the duration of the pandemic.
Between September 22 and Tuesday, 474 virus-related deaths were reported in North Carolina, bringing the number of deaths from a pandemic in the state to 16,285. This is down from the 506 deaths reported from 15 to September 21.
As of Tuesday, 3,073 virus-related hospitalizations were reported in the state, up from 3,464 reported on September 21.
According to the NCDHHS, 5,577,454 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered statewide on Tuesday, representing 57% of the state’s population; 5,131,270 people are considered fully vaccinated, or 53% of the state’s population.