KEY POINTS

  • Brunswick County was upgraded into the Substantial/Orange Tier on the North Carolina COVID-19 County Alert System this week
  • North Carolina enters into a modified Stay at Home Order today requiring people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. through at least Jan. 8, 2021
  • Brunswick County is working with internal and external partners on vaccination plans to administer the first doses Brunswick County receives to health care workers providing direct care to COVID-19 patients and/or treating COVID-19 related symptoms

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services identified four new deaths in the past week associated to COVID-19 and saw new cases increase by 20% in the past 14 days (Nov.27-Dec. 11). All four individuals who passed away were aged 65 or older and two were connected to ongoing outbreaks at congregate living settings.

Health Services has also identified at least 86 resident cases that are directly tied to a Thanksgiving gathering. Several other individuals who tested positive for the virus recently are reporting unknown exposures, possibly due to increased community spread.

According to the NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard statistics on testing, about 9.7% of tests conducted in Brunswick County are yielding positive results as of Dec. 11. In North Carolina, about 10.4% of test conducted are positive.  

The increase in test positivity rate coupled with the county’s 14-day case rate per 100,000 people (373.2) were factors in Brunswick County’s upgrade into the Substantial/Orange Tier on the North Carolina COVID-19 County Alert System earlier this week. This is the second-highest tier on the alert system.

On the most recent update, more than 80% of North Carolina counties were either in the Critical/Red tier or Orange/Substantial tier. Also, Governor Roy Cooper announced this week that North Carolina will enter into a modified Stay at Home Order that requires people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The order takes effect Friday, Dec. 11 and is in place until at least Jan. 8, 2021.

“We don’t want to see Brunswick County or our state move backward, but the latest trends are worrying,” Health Services Director Cris Harrelson said. “We need everyone to be vigilant in their protective measures like mask wearing and avoiding social gatherings through the holidays and the next few months.” 

Here are some of the recurring exposures our contact tracing team has noticed in the past week:

  • Exposures due to local family gatherings and out-of-state travel (including Thanksgiving gatherings)
  • Exposures in the workplace
  • Exposures at religious or faith-related gatherings

There is cause for hope, however. This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.   

The CDC and North Carolina have both adopted a phased approach to how vaccination will be prioritized. Brunswick County Health Services is working closely with our internal and external community partners on vaccination preparation and plans are already underway to administer the first doses Brunswick County receives for health care workers providing direct care to COVID-19 patients and/or treating COVID-19 related symptoms. 

Health Services continues to review the vaccine plan the state has crafted for North Carolina as a whole and will continue to provide updates as more information is available from the state and the FDA.

The best way to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 at this time is to avoid traveling for the holidays and gathering with family or others you do not live with. If you choose to attend or host a holiday gathering, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk for COVID-19.

Health Services and the NCDHHS strongly encourage you to get tested three or four days before traveling and again three to five days after you travel while remaining at home for seven days to screen yourself for symptoms. Brunswick County has information about testing, screening sites, and symptoms on its website, including testing sites for both insured and uninsured individuals and sites offering free tests.

Individuals trying to get tested before or after holiday travel should select/use this as their reason when requesting the test from a provider: State Health Officials Have Said I Should Get a Test

BRUNSWICK COUNTY CASE DATA

As of Dec. 11, there are 3,572 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents (2,809 considered recovered, 683 isolating at 473 different households, 14 hospitalized, 66 deaths) and there are 22 cases among non-residents (4 isolating in county, 13 considered recovered, 3 transferred monitoring to home county, 2 deaths).

To date, 66 residents and two non-residents have passed away with deaths related to the virus. The age range of these individuals (residents and non-residents) were: 65 years or older (61 cases); 50-64 years (3 case); 25-49 years (4 cases).

Find links to more information on our Health Services COVID-19 webpage.