RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here's the latest news and information on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,289 new COVID-19 cases, a slight decrease from Monday but still maintaining the state's plateau in the 7-day average of new cases. However, the percentage of positive tests rose sharply to 7.5%, meaning community spread could be much higher.
Additionally, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 1,112.
In total, 18,642 people have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic.
The U.S. has reported an increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases for the third week in a row.
Nearly 142,000 children tested positive in the last week, which is a 16% increase from the week prior and a 41% jump over the last three weeks, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.
Nearly 6.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
COVID-19 cases among children remain "extremely high," the organizations said, and there have been almost 1.7 million additional cases since the first week of September.
The Midwest continues to see the highest number of pediatric cases.
Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains "uncommon" among children, AAP and CHA said. However, AAP and CHA continue to warn that there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on children, "including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects."
WATCH | Q&A: COVID-19 winter surge warning
TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
COVID-19 booster shots are available to all adults at all five Wake county vaccination clinics starting today.
To get the booster shots, you must make an appointment.
While the boosters are now available, getting one today likely won't give you any more protection ahead of Thanksgiving, as it takes several days before your body builds the anti-bodies.
That's why doctors say all families should still be cautious when holding gatherings indoors with large groups--especially if any people in those groups are unvaccinated.
If you're looking to get vaccinated or to get a booster, click here.
Starting at 5 p.m., those 18 and older who want a booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna can make an appointment at the Wake County Department of Health and Human Services.
Orange County is already providing boosters to this group.
"The county is operating two clinics," said Todd McGee, Orange County community relations director. "One is, you can just show up and get a shot and one, we're requesting appointments.. for that one. But yeah, we've got the booster shots. We're available for anybody who needs it. We're ready to go."
The holiday season is motivating some to get their boosters.
"Certainly that should be an impetus for a lot of people," McGee said. "We know there's going to be a lot of travel, a lot of people going to crowded airports, and sitting on planes, and things like that. So yeah, it would be a good idea to go ahead and get that booster shot if you're eligible."
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,383 new COVID-19 cases Monday morning as the 7-day average of new cases remains very stable. However, the percentage of positive tests rose to 6.3%.
The number of people in the hospital also increased slightly since a week ago to 1,055.
Friday, the CDC endorsed Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for everyone 18 years and older. Previously, only Johnson & Johnson vaccine recepients could receive a booster shot regardless of health conditions, living or work situations or age (over 18).
Boosters are available to those who got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine six months after their second shot and two months after their shot to those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Booster shots are widely available at any location where vaccines are given. Wake and Durham County Health Departments will begin giving booster shots to all adults on Tuesday.
MONDAY MORNING HEADLINES
The COVID-19 vaccination mandate for federal workers takes effect today.
That mandate includes some airport workers, like TSA agents.
The agency insists the mandate will not disrupt holiday travel at airports, which is expected to be extremely busy.
Any TSA agents who are not vaccinated will not be immediately pulled off their posts.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the mandate is about making sure everyone is safe; it's not about finding a way to fire employees. He said there is a procedure in place to educate and help any TSA agent who has not yet been vaccinated.
Since the start of the pandemic, 11,171 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-two of those employees have died from the virus.
A total of 51 TSA employees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have tested positive for COVID-19, with the most recent case happening Sept. 22.
The U.S. on Friday opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the extra step of urging people 50 and older to seek one, aiming to ward off a winter surge as coronavirus cases rise even before millions of Americans travel for the holidays.
Until now, Americans faced a confusing list of who was eligible for a booster that varied by age, their health and which kind of vaccine they got first. The Food and Drug Administration authorized changes to Pfizer and Moderna boosters that makes it easier.
Durham County Public Health Department will host a community vaccination clinic at Brogden Middle School tonight from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The clinic will offer all three doses (first, second and booster) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine only. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for anyone 5 years and older.
Anyone who would like to attend is encouraged to register beforehand.
According to an update from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, unvaccinated North Carolinians are more than five times more likely to catch COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts and more than 25 times more likely to die from the disease.
The report highlights that 10% of COVID-19 cases and 7% of deaths since January 1 have been in vaccinated individuals, however, that is expected as case counts drop, more people get vaccinated, and vaccine efficacy for those who were immunized in the spring wanes.
Still, just 2% of the more than 5.5 million fully vaccinated North Carolinians have gotten COVID-19 after getting their shot. Less than 0.02% died.