RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.
Durham County officials announced the termination of the Declaration of Emergency which was implemented and remained in effect as the COVID -19 pandemic continued to surge.
County Commissioners first issued a "Declaration of State of Emergency in Durham County" on March 14, 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Updates to the Declaration were subsequently added. The most recent update to the declaration came in August 2021, as the especially contagious Omicron variant pushed coronavirus cases to unprecedented levels over the following months.
The termination of declaration document states, "at the present time, the number of persons vaccinated in Durham and across the State of North Carolina has significantly increased, and the rate of positive cases and hospitalizations have decreased."
Chair Brenda Howerton signed the termination order Friday morning. The "Declaration of State of Emergency in the County of Durham to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 is TERMINATED," effective Monday, March 7 at 12:01 a.m.
Starting March 14, masks will be optional in most Cumberland County Government facilities for visitors and employees.
Masks will continue to be required at the Department of Public Health and the Detention Center in accordance with OSHA and other regulations.
"Things are looking better for Cumberland County as our COVID-19 metrics improve. In the last seven days, the number of new cases and new hospital admissions per 100,000 population decreased 52% and 23% respectively," said Glenn Adams, Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. "I am thankful we can move forward with this new guidance, but the pandemic is not yet over. We have free prevention measures widely available such as vaccinations, testing and treatment. Please continue to follow guidance from our health officials to protect yourselves, your co-workers, and your families."
NCDHHS reports 2,646 new daily cases for a total of 2,589,014 since the start of the pandemic.
A week ago, there were 4,887 new cases.
Interestingly, for the week ending Feb. 19, people who were vaccinated made up 41% of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. The percent of post-vaccination cases actually increased for that week compared to the previous week.
The daily percent positive is 4.3%, which is welcome news as health officials want to see that number at 5% or less.
Last week, it was 7.1% and two Fridays ago the number was 10.3%.
It's the second day in a row below 5% and the lowest rate since Nov. 17.
There are 1,336 hospitalizations, 65 fewer than the previous day.
However, the percentage of patients with COVID-19 requiring ICU level of care increased for the week ending Feb. 26
There were 38 new deaths reported since Friday for a total of 22,763 since the start of the pandemic.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said Orange County's decision to move away from a mask mandate is an important next step as metrics continue to improve.
"First of all, I want to thank everyone for your hard work over these past two years," Hemminger wrote in a letter to residents. "As Mayor, I have been proud of and grateful for the way our community has come together to prevent the spread of the virus, look out for one another, and protect our health care system and its workers."
She said there will continue to be some places - including healthcare facilities and Chapel Hill Transit and regional buses - where masks will continue to be required.
The mayor added that the Town is working on returning to in-person Council meetings as well as plans for fully opening Town facilities to the public.