RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.
Despite an increase in the percentage of cases attributed to vaccinated North Carolinians, data shows the vaccines are still highly protective against hospitalization and death.
In the week ending October 9, 22% of COVID-19 cases were in people who had already been vaccinated. However, experts expect this number to increase as more people get vaccinated because the pool of unvaccinated people will be smaller and the virus is still spreading with high community transmission throughout the state, according to the CDC. As of Thursday, 66% of North Carolina adults are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Overall, unvaccinated North Carolinians are more than four times more likely to get sick from COVID-19 than vaccinated North Carolinians and 19.51 times more likely to die from an infection, after adjusting for age.
Since January 1, 9% of COVID-19 cases and 6% of deaths have been in vaccinated individuals.
Just 1.6% of the nearly 5.2 million North Carolinians vaccinated as of October 9 got sick with COVID-19 between January 1 and that date. About 0.01%, or 1 in 10,000, vaccinated North Carolinians have died from COVID-19.
On average, just over 17% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were previously vaccinated. Less than 12% of post-vaccination hospitalizations end up in the ICU.
More good news coming out of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. COVID-19 metrics continue to show gradual improvements.
Today, just over 3,000 new cases were reported. That's slightly higher than yesterday, but down more than 700 from Thursday last week and down more than 1,700 from Thursday two weeks ago.
The daily percent positive rate likewise dropped again--down to 5.1% this week from 5.9% last week and 6.4% two weeks ago.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus fell by 48 from yesterday--down to 1,763.
Unfortunately, another 56 people lost their battle with the virus.
THURSDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Christmas is back on in Garner. The town revived the traditional Christmas parade just a week after canceling it.
This will be the first time in two years that the parade happens. Last year it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the year before it was called off because of threats of violence.
This year's parade is scheduled to happen Dec. 18 on Main Street in downtown Garner. Applications are now open, if you'd like to volunteer.
In less than a week, the FDA will consider the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children. But before then, state and local health officials are working to inform parents and prepare for the rollout.
Wake County leaders scheduled a specific "Ask the Doc" event focusing on children and COVID-19. That will start at 7 p.m. Thursday.
It will involve a panel of local pediatricians and health experts taking your questions live on Facebook and YouTube.
Click here for more details.
U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.
North Carolina health officials have released data on COVID-19 clusters in childcare and K-12 settings.
Throughout North Carolina K-12 settings, there are 193 clusters. This is down from last week's 223. There are six in Wake County, eight in Durham and three in Cumberland County.
There are 13 childcare setting clusters, down from last week's 19.
NCDHHS on Wednesday reported 2,610 new daily COVID-19 cases.
The daily percent of positive cases is 6.5%.
1,811 are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.
At a White House press briefing, CDC director Rochelle Walensky talked about a new variant - a descendent of the Delta variant - recently identified in the UK.
She confirmed that there have been a few cases of the variant - called AY.4.2 - in the United States, but the variant does not appear to be spreading, nor is there any evidence it will impact vaccines.
The Delta variant is still 99.9% of cases in the United States.
Cape Fear Valley Health is making modifications to the current visitation policy due to declining COVID-19 cases. The changes will go into effect at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Most Cape Fear Valley Medical Center inpatients, Cape Fear Valley Rehabilitation Center patients, Bladen County Hospital and Hoke Hospital patients may have no more than two visitors from noon and 8 p.m. Visitors must be at least 12 years old.
Visitors and patients in all Cape Fear Valley Health facilities and clinics are required to properly wear a mask at all times. Masks must remain on at all times, even in patients' rooms, or the visitor will be asked to leave. Neck gaiters are not permitted. This mask policy will be strictly enforced.
The Biden administration is looking to plan ahead on their vaccine roll out for kids ages 5-11, announcing today their plan to distribute vaccines if they are authorized by the FDA for the group.
The administration says they have enough of the vaccine to cover the 28 million American children in this age group.
As part of their plan, the administration is announcing that pending FDA authorization, "the packaging configuration will be 10-dose vials in cartons of 10 vials each (100 doses total), delivered in a newly updated product shipper, and the vaccine can be stored for up to 10 weeks at standard refrigeration temperatures and 6 months at ultracold temperatures."
The plan also includes ensuring the vaccination is available across the country at different vaccination sites, and setting up an education campaign along with HHS to "reach parents and guardians with accurate and culturally-responsive information about the vaccine and the risks that COVID-19 poses to children."
Wednesday's top headlines
Federal regulators are expected to authorize the mixing and matching of COVID-19 booster shots this week.
The upcoming announcement by the Food and Drug Administration follows the OK last month of a third dose for the Pfizer vaccine for many Americans.
The FDA was also expected to say that using the same brand for a booster was still preferable. The move was previewed Tuesday by a U.S. health official familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement.
The CDC will also meet to discuss recommendations for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
The meetings comes after after an FDA advisory panel made its recommendations last week.
While the recommendations for Moderna are similar to the ones already authorized for Pfizer, the panel made a different choice regarding the Johnson & Johnson shot.
Experts say anyone over 18 who got the single shot vaccine should get a booster at least two months after the first dose.
The Biden administration is threatening to revoke the authority for three Republican-controlled states to handle their own workplace safety regulations because they have refused to adopt rules to protect health care workers from COVID-19.
The threats were sent to Arizona, South Carolina and Utah as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration prepares to adopt much more far-reaching vaccination and testing rules affecting 80 million Americans.
OSHA officials say Arizona, South Carolina and Utah are not complying with their promises to enforce labor standards that are at least as good as those adopted by the federal government.