LATEST: NC hospitalizations continue to decline

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.

4:05 p.m.
Halifax County reminds residents that the mass COVID-19 testing event at the Roanoke Rapids Theatre, 500 Carolina Crossroads Parkway in Roanoke Rapids is ongoing. The event runs weekly, Monday-Friday through Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As of Wednesday, 1,006 samples have been collected and 27.63% were positive for COVID-19.

As of Thursday, the Halifax County Health Department reports 13,352 total positive COVID-19 cases since March 2020. Seven additional deaths have been added for a total of 162 countywide. That's 1.21% of cases.

3:06 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley visited and toured King's Pharmacy & Compounding Lab in New Hanover County.

"Our pharmacies are playing a key role in getting these safe, effective and free COVID vaccines into our communities and I'm grateful for their work," Cooper said.

The visit is part of the state's initiative to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

"Our message to North Carolinians is to layer protection to prevent serious illness from COVID-19: get vaccinated, get a booster when eligible, and wear a tight-fitting mask," said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. "We're grateful to our pharmacy partners who are a critical part of getting vaccines and boosters into arms and blunting the impacts of this virus."

King's Pharmacy is distributing Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for adults and Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5 and older.

"It is still imperative to get vaccinated today, to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community," said Buck Martin, Owner and PharmD of Kings Pharmacy & Compounding. "COVID-19 is still going strong and the vaccines are effective. We can fight this together."

12:27 p.m.
NCDHHS reports 14,966 new cases, slightly up from the previous day.

The daily percent positive stands at 22.2%, continuing to decline.

There are 4,556 people hospitalized, that's down 169 from the previous day.

There were 123 new deaths reported for a total of 21,027 statewide since the start of the pandemic.

NCDHHS said 71% of the adult population is considered fully vaccinated.

11:39 a.m.
Cape Fear Valley Health System announced that the drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Health Pavilion North will reopen next week, beginning Tuesday.

It had been closed because of testing supply issues.

Vice President of Pharmacy and Cancer Center Christopher Tart said the combination of decreased demand for testing and resolved supply issues has made reopening the testing site possible.

"We are seeing demand drop, so our forecast for demand is improved," Tart said. "We are also now confident that we have enough supplies to reopen the site and still be able to meet the testing needs of the hospitals and clinics."

The testing site is at 6387 Ramsey St. in Fayetteville. It will be open Tuesdays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Testing is done on a first-come-first-served basis as capacity allows, no appointment is necessary.

For patients with insurance, the COVID-19 tests are fully covered with no out-of-pocket costs. Patients without insurance will be billed $100.

11:01 a.m.
The Chatham County Public Health Department has received a shipment of N95 respirators from the NC Department of Health and Human Services and has begun distributing these masks to the general public.

Beginning Thursday, these masks are available to the public at the three branches of the Chatham County Public Libraries as supplies allow. Each household can receive one box of 20 masks.

Boxes will be available during operating hours at each branch while supplies last:

  • Chatham Community Library, 197 NC Highway 87 N in Pittsboro, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wren Memorial Library, 500 N. Second Ave. in Siler City, Monday, noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Goldston Library, 9235 Pittsboro-Goldston Road in Goldston, Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


WEDNESDAY
3:59 p.m.
The NCDHHS said that as of noon there are 12,335 new cases.

The daily percent positive continues to drop and stands at 24.2%.

There are 4,725 patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

In all, 20,904 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic. There were 87 additional deaths added since the previous day's report.

3:20 p.m.
Durham County Public Libraries is pausing N95 mask distribution until further notice as it has run out of masks.

Masks remain available at Optum Serve testing locations for individuals being tested, while supplies last.

"We are so glad to be able to partner with our libraries to give out these masks, which are a critical need in the community," said Durham County Public Health Director Rod Jenkins. "We were able to give out more than 30,000 N95s through our libraries, and we hope that we are able to receive more from the state in the coming weeks in order to be able to get a pickup process started again."

You can still get a mask if you're getting tested at these Optum locations:

  • Durham County Memorial Stadium (750 Stadium Dr.): 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily
  • El Centro Hispano (2000 Chapel Hill Rd.): 10 a.m. -6 p.m. daily
  • Wheels Fun Park (715 N. Hoover Rd.): 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
  • 414 E. Main St.: Saturday-Sunday only, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.


2:48 p.m.
The Moore County Health Department will host an N95 mask distribution event on Friday at Moore County Agricultural Center, 707 Pinehurst Ave., in Carthage. The event will run from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. while supplies last.

11:45 a.m.
Director of the North Carolina Division on Mental Health Deepa Avula spoke to Congress today about the ongoing mental health crisis in America.

Avula said the crisis is not new but needs are still not being met. She said high school students saw an increase in feelings of loneliness and sadness at a rate of 40 percent.

Mental health experts have also seen an uptick in suicidal thoughts and attempts.

"If we do not beef up our community-based services and our crisis services, we will be in a lot of trouble," Avula said.

8:25 a.m.
A new study from Los Angeles County's health department estimates that during the city's omicron surge, people who were unvaccinated were 3.6 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 23 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were vaccinated and boosted.

The unvaccinated were 2 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 5.3 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to people who were vaccinated but not yet boosted, according to the study, which was published in the CDC's weekly journal, MMWR.

WEDNESAY MORNING HEADLINES
A top North Carolina mental health official is set to speak to Congress about the state of children's mental health.

Deepa Avula, the director of the North Carolina Division on Mental Health, is one of five health care professionals due to speak to the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday.

The committee is holding hearings about America's mental health, specifically how it has changed two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of that will take place while leaders with Wake County Public School System develop a plan to improve mental health in its students.

WCPSS has proposed implementing a social and emotional learning curriculum or possibly requiring behavioral health needs assessments. It's unclear when WCPSS will settle on and roll out its plan.

Meanwhile, we now know an FDA advisory committee will meet Feb.15 to discuss Pfizer's vaccine for children younger than 5 years old.
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