Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Health Dept.: Covid cases increasing

Alamance County’s leaders received a rather grim prognosis this week when the local health department presented its latest update on the state of the coronavirus pandemic.

Janna Elliott, the county’s assistant health director, didn’t exactly mince words when she appeared before the county’s board of commissioners on Tuesday on behalf of her boss, Alamance County’s health director Tony Lo Giudice.

“Our case counts are continuing to go up,” Elliott told the commissioners that morning. “As of Friday, we had 987 active cases. I believe that’s 1,200 active cases today.”

Elliott also noted that the county has reported 11 coronavirus fatalities since the commissioners received the health department’s previous report on the pandemic. She added that the county has also seen an uptick in its rate of positive coronavirus tests, which is currently at 12.85 percent.

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The county’s assistant health director went on to stress that the pandemic’s recent resurgence in Alamance County is due largely to the rise of the highly-contagious Delta variant of this infection.

“Ninety-five percent of the cases that we’re experiencing now are the Delta variant,” she informed the commissioners.

Elliott told the commissioners that the state is currently monitoring five local nursing homes as well as the county jail after it received word of multiple coronavirus infections at these facilities. The state’s latest roster of “ongoing outbreaks,” which was updated on Tuesday afternoon, still includes Alamance County’s detention center as well as four local nursing homes – namely Compass Health and Rehab in the Hawfields community, Peak Resources in Graham, the Twin Lakes retirement community, and White Oak Manor in Burlington.

The spread of the Delta variant also appears to have put a strain on Alamance Regional Medical Center and other hospitals owned by Greensboro-based Cone Health Systems. Elliott said that, at last count, Cone Health was treating 135 people with COVID-19 – of whom, 123 hadn’t been vaccinated. She added that the county’s health department has continued to promote the vaccine in light of the increased risk that the uninoculated have for serious complications.

“Our mission is shots in arms, safety, and efficiency,” she added. “We have started doing the third shot for people who are moderately and severely immuno-compromised, and we are continuing to do mobile outreach to communities that have access to care issues.”

According to Elliott, 91,275 of the county’s residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine – which usually requires two doses to provide full inoculation against COVID-19. The county’s assistant health director added that some 77,801 people in Alamance County have been through the full vaccination regimen – accounting for 45.9 percent of the county’s whole population or some 53.6 percent of the portion that’s eligible to receive the vaccine.

The county’s health department is currently scheduling appointments for first, second, and third doses of the coronavirus vaccine. The first and second doses are presently available to anyone 12 years and older while a third booster shot is limited to people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. The health department is currently conducting these inoculations at its headquarters off of Graham-Hopedale Road in Burlington rather than at the former Burlington Manufacturers Outlet Center, which had served as a vaccination clearinghouse earlier this year.

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