Vance County COVID-19 community spread elevated from orange to red; health officials say spike due, in part, to Halloween gatherings

VANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- In Vance County, health officials are working to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 after being elevated from orange to red in the state's County Alert System.

Per Granville Vance public health director Lisa Harrison, the increase in cases is being attributed in part due to Halloween activity.

"It's due I think to people mainly getting together over Halloween," said Harrison. "I think it's also our systems of employers and schools and court systems also struggle to make sure they have enough space for people to distance."

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Harrison said keeping the spread down is not just an individual responsibility but takes an effort for public health officials in doing their part.

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The latest data provided to ABC11 showed Vance County in the critical red category with 577.1 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, a 10.4% positivity rate and hospitals under a moderate impact.

"It's difficult to see the rural counties struggling right now and that has a lot of different factors playing into it," said Harrison.



"With Thanksgiving coming up, we're really concerned that people are going to get together across families," Harrison said. "And we want to make sure they're doing that safely."

The Centers for Disease Control recently issued an advisory to Americans urging against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order telling North Carolinians to wear a mask whenever with someone who does not live in your same household.

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The concern remains as Christmas is one month away.

"My sense is that during this holiday time when people like to gather together it's going to be really challenging to bring our code alert system back down to yellow before Christmas. Hopefully, we can work together to get it down in January. I'd love to see it down to yellow the next two weeks. But that would take a heavy effort on the part of everyone in the community," Harrison said.

Harrison said having an option to transfer patients to neighboring Granville or UNC and Duke helps keep the hospital impact at moderate. Although, it could change quickly.

"We have access to care locally and we have access to transfer people to more critical care units if they're needed," Harrison said. "I'm hopeful that will stay the case."

In an effort to slow the spread, Harrison said everyone will have to play a role.

"We're really depending on individuals having good behavior around prevention."

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