Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in NC spikes to 3,757; 7,248 new COVID-19 cases reported

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

9:30 p.m.
Warren County Schools said Warren County High School and Vaughan Elementary will be switching to remote temporarily due to staffing shortages.

Warren County High School began their first day of remote learning Wednesday and will return to in-person Thursday, Sept. 9.

Vaughan Elementary will begin online classes starting Thursday and will resume in-person classes Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Both schools will offer curbside meal distribution from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

7:21 p.m.
Cumberland County Schools said Beaver Dam Elementary School will temporarily shift to remote instruction through at least Sept. 10, and possibly longer because the number of positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines, which resulted in a COVID-19 cluster, has caused a staffing shortage at the school.

Temporary remote learning at Beaver Dam Elementary will begin Thursday. The district notified families Wednesday afternoon.

Cumberland County Schools officials are also temporarily halting football games and practices for Cape Fear High School and Jack Britt High School because of COVID-19 clusters.

"Our top priority is to operate our schools in-person all year as safely as possible, but that will require everyone working together, following guidance from health officials, getting vaccinated if eligible and practicing the 3 Ws," said CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. "We urge parents to remember that if their child is exhibiting any signs of illness, they need to keep them at home, let the school know, and contact their healthcare professional."

5:20 p.m.
In a joint statement, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists are calling an "immediate end" to prescribing, dispensing or using ivermectin, either to treat or prevent covid-19. Ivermectin is available in different formulations for both people and animals, to treat parasites. It is not approved to treat or prevent covid-19, nor is there enough evidence to support its use.

From the statement: "We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months ... In addition, we are urging physicians, pharmacists, and other prescribers - trusted healthcare professionals in their communities - to warn patients against the use of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance, whether intended for use in humans or animals, as well as purchasing ivermectin from online stores. Veterinary forms of this medication are highly concentrated for large animals and pose a significant toxicity risk for humans."

3:40 p.m.
COVID-19 vaccinations will not be required at the popular NC State Fair. Despite officials not checking for vaccinations, they do encourage people to get vaccinated.

In July, the 2020 State Fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but officials announced in February that the fall event is still on.

2:15 p.m.
Starting Sept. 4, the NC DMV will temporarily suspend its Saturday services at the 16 driver license offices where services were available.

The agency said this move is being made "to better protect customers and staff from the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant."

"Temporarily suspending Saturday hours will reduce potential COVID exposures, as examiners who work on Saturdays typically travel from several offices to work together in one office," the agency said in a news release.

Saturday service hours from 8 a.m.-noon will be suspended at the following driver license offices:
Asheville, 1624 Patton Ave.
Charlotte, 9711 David Taylor Dr.
Charlotte, 201-H W. Arrowood Rd.
Durham, 3825 S. Roxboro St., Suite 119
Fayetteville, 831 Elm St.
Greensboro, 2527 E. Market St.
Greensboro, 2391 Coliseum Blvd.
Greenville, 4651 North Creek Dr.
Hendersonville, 125 Baystone Dr.
Hudson, 309 Pine Mountain Rd.
Huntersville, 12101 Mount Holly-Huntersville Rd.
Jacksonville, 299 Wilmington Hwy.
Monroe, 3122 U.S. Hwy. 74 W.
Raleigh, 2431 Spring Forest Rd., Suite 101
Wilmington, 2390 Carolina Beach Rd., Suite 104
Winston-Salem, 2001 Silas Creek Pkwy.

12:30 p.m.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be installing six additional canopies on campus this weekend, weather permitting, to give more space for outdoor dining.

Canopies will be installed at:
Two canopies on the north side of Lenoir
Two canopies on the south side of Lenoir
One canopy on the Manning quad
One canopy on the Carroll quad

12:12 p.m.
7,248 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Wednesday.

The daily percent of positive tests is at 13.8%.

3,757 are currently hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.

That's the highest number of hospitalizations North Carolina has seen in recent months.

There are 926 adult ICU COVID-19 patients.

438 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals in the last 24 hours.

61 more deaths were reported on Wednesday.

10:30 a.m.
The Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH) will offer COVID-19 vaccines at two community locations during the week of August 30. These events are free, and no identification is required.

Thursday, September 2:
When: Thursday, September 2, 4:00pm-5:30pm
Where: Lighthouse Food Mart. 2944 Holloway St., Durham, NC 27703.
Vaccines offered: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson; first and second doses
How to be vaccinated: Walk-ins only. Open to all people 12 and older.

Friday, September 3:
When: Friday, September 3, 3:00pm-5:30pm
Where: AW North Carolina. 4112 Old Oxford Hwy., Durham, NC 27712
Vaccines offered: Johnson & Johnson
How to be vaccinated: Walk-ins only.

9:56 a.m.
Due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts.

"First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday.

Walensky said that while people who are fully vaccinated can travel with precautions, current transmission rates mean they too need to take Covid-19 risk into consideration when deciding whether to travel.

9:30 a.m.
UNC Rex Healthcare announced it will postpone the opening of its new Holly Springs Hospital until November and redeploy existing employees and new hires to its main Raleigh hospital, which remains very busy caring for COVID and non-COVID patients.

A spokesperson said the postponement decision was made "to ensure that its teammates can continue to provide excellent care for all patients during the current surge in COVID cases."

"This was a difficult decision, but we need all hands on deck to respond to the rapid surge of COVID patients," said Ernie Bovio, president of UNC Rex. "Our staff is tired, both physically and mentally, but they continue to go above and beyond in caring for our patients each and every day. We want to make sure our teammates have the resources and support they need during these challenging times."

In addition to postponing the opening of the Holly Springs Hospital, UNC Rex also said it will reduce the number of non-emergent surgeries and procedures, which will increase the Raleigh hospital's capacity to care for COVID patients.

WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES

Two central North Carolina towns are mandating vaccines today.

All town employees in Carrboro and Hillsborough must now show proof of vaccination status.

Those in Hillsborough who are still not vaccinated must get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Carrboro said more than 70 percent of employees had been vaccinated by the start of August when the policy was announced. It's unclear how many remain unvaccinated today.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is stretched thin, according to CNN sources.

The sources said some in the FDA are frustrated as the pandemic rages on and the agency feels pressure to assess other vaccines for approval, expand vaccine access to kids under 12 and create guidelines for potential booster shots.

US health officials have noted that they think booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be available starting the week of September 20.

Q&A: Should COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory for children to go to school?
EMBED More News Videos

Dr. Alexa Mieses-Malchuk talks about the recent spread of COVID-19 -- especially with respect to children.



TUESDAY
3:45 p.m.
NCDHHS released its weekly cluster report on Tuesday. It showed that there were 38 clusters in childcare settings and 73 in K-12 schools. That's a 3% increase from last week in childcare settings and a 62% increase in school settings.

2:35 p.m.
Wake Tech is teaming with Activate Good, Wake County, Raleigh-Apex NAACP, Raleigh Village East, and Deiter Mediation for a pop-up walk-in vaccine clinic from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.Wednesday at the college's Beltline Education Center.

Anyone who gets the first or second dose of the vaccine at the event will get a cash prize and be entered into a drawing for AirPods. Anyone who brings someone to get the vaccine will also get a cash prize.

The event also aims to raise awareness about employment opportunities. A job board will be on-site for attendees to learn about job openings in the area.

First and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna, as well as the single dose of Johnson & Johnson, will be administered.

The shot is free with or without insurance. However, if you have insurance, make sure to bring your insurance card.

Wake Tech's Beltline Education Center is located at 3200 Bush St. in Raleigh.

1 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper visited a drive-thru vaccine clinic hosted by the Nash County Health Department to encourage North Carolinians to get their shot.

There he announced that he will soon be signing an executive order to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which the CDC says can help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.

The treatment can "decrease the severity of the disease and prevent people from being in the hospital," NCDHHS Dr. Betsey Tilson said at the event.

Still, Tilson said the vaccine is preferred.

"It's great to see North Carolinians get their doses of this lifesaving shot, and even better to see those who are immunocompromised get an additional shot for further protection," Cooper said. "The more people we get vaccinated, the sooner we can turn the final corner on this pandemic."

On Friday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released new data showing that unvaccinated people were 15.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 during the four-week period ending August 21, 2021.

12:15 p.m.
The Chatham County Public Health Department said the county recently saw its first deaths due to COVID-19 since May.

Since early July, nearly a quarter of COVID-19 cases in Chatham County have been among children under age 18.

The county said it implores all residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a mask in public places to protect themselves and their community against the deadly virus.

11:45 a.m.
5,351 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Tuesday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is at 14.6 percent.

3,612 people are currently hospitalized in the state with COVID-19. That's up from 3,550 on Monday.

There are 941 adult COVID-19 ICU patients.

336 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into North Carolina hospitals in the last 24 hours.

56 additional deaths were reported on Tuesday.

11 a.m.
University of North Carolina identified COVID-19 clusters in three different campus dorms.

The university said it started an early testing process last week targeting the residence halls where multiple COVID cases had been reported.

That testing has resulted in the clusters--which are defined as at least five cases of illness within a 14-day period that have a plausible link.

UNC said the clusters are in the following locations:
  • Ehringhaus, 3rd floor
  • Hinton James, 7th and 8th floors
  • Parker, 3rd floor


All of the individuals in these clusters have been notified and are isolating. The university said it is performing ongoing contact tracing for each case.

TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Today is the last day people can get $100 by receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been offering $100 gift cards for the last few weeks.

Since upping the gift card amount from $25 to $100, the state said providers saw a 98 percent increase in the number of people who signed up to get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
However, it's important to note that the increase came as the Delta variant began raging across the country. So it's unclear what ultimately pushed unvaccinated people to roll up their sleeves.

According to NCDHHS, 65 percent of eligible North Carolinians are partially vaccinated; 60 percent are fully vaccinated.

Moreover, a week into the 2021-2022 school year Durham Public Schools is set to get an update from public health advisors about how COVID-19 safety protocols are holding up so far.

That comes just a day after Wake County Public School System intensified its own COVID-19 protocols.

DPS leaders are set to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Stay with ABC11 for updates.
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