Unvaccinated people nearly 4 times more likely to get COVID-19 in North Carolina, state data shows

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

5:40 p.m.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. announced a teacher in the district died from COVID-19.

"We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of one of our teachers, due to complications from COVID-19," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the employee's family and loved ones. Schools are learning communities made up of employees, students and their families. Although the employee did not have the opportunity to teach this academic year, the school community is still feeling this loss. Please keep them in your thoughts as well."

4:15 p.m.

Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at UNC REX Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center at 4210 Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh.

This is the facility's fourth outbreak. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two or more people - residents or employees - testing positive for the virus.

3:30 p.m.
The CDC is out with three new studies showing that overall, vaccines are still dramatically reducing the risk of being hospitalized or dying of COVID-19 during the current Delta surge, as they did during the pre-Delta era.

Across the studies, vaccines remained 86-87% effective against preventing hospitalizations.

However, across any metric, vaccine effectiveness has dropped more for people ages 65 and older in recent months compared to the pre-Delta era, likely because of a combination of vaccine effectiveness fading over time, and the slight impact of the Delta variant on vaccine efficacy.

And vaccines are losing some of their effectiveness when it comes to preventing mild infections among the vaccinated (breakthroughs).

This new data will factor into the FDA and CDC discussions around booster shots, and whether they are necessary for everyone now or should perhaps be administered to specific groups first, such as older adults.

ABC's Sasha Pezenik pressed the CDC director about this latest data at the White House COVID briefing and whether it accounts for the damage done by Delta.

Dr. Walensky said even accounting for Delta and other factors "it's still well over 90% of people who are in the hospital are unvaccinated."

She added there are "more than 10 times the number of people in the hospital who are unvaccinated compared to vaccinated."

And earlier in the briefing, she gave this statistic:

"Those who were unvaccinated were about four-and-a-half times more likely to get COVID-19, are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die."

2:45 p.m.
A vaccine and COVID testing event will be held at Wheels Fun Park Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The vaccination/testing event is being organized by several community organizations, with Duke Health being one of them.

1:30 p.m.
Next Sunday, September 19, the El Pueblo organization will hold an event at its offices located in Raleigh (2321 Crabtree Blvd.) that will include food distribution, COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and Zumba among other activities.

The outdoor event will be from 1 to 5 pm.

"We wanted to hold this fair because we know the more we take care of each other, the sooner we will get out of the pandemic together, without having to lose one more member of our community," said Iliana Santillán, executive director of El Pueblo. "Our commitment as an organization is to help our Latinx community to always be protected and empowered."

12 p.m.
5,877 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Friday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is at 12.1%.

3,756 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

There are 909 adult ICU COVID-19 patients.

There were 445 confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted into North Carolina hospitals in the last 24 hours.

11:45 a.m.
State data shows unvaccinated individuals are nearly 4 times more likely to get COVID-19 as vaccinated individuals.

Unvaccinated individuals are 13.6 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals, when adjusted for age.

6% of all cases between January and the end of August were in vaccinated people.

Of the more than 4.8 million North Carolinians who were vaccinated as of the end of August, 0.82% had gotten COVID and 0.005% had died from COVID.

WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Duke University will require face coverings at all Duke sporting events.

Indoor, outdoor, vaccinated, unvaccinated -- it doesn't matter. Facemask will be required at all home sporting events involving Duke University.

The policy change comes ahead of Duke's home football opener against North Carolina A&T, which is set to kick off at 8 p.m. Friday in Wallace Wade Stadium.

Meanwhile, UNC is set to host its first football game of the season Saturday. That's when the Tar Heels will take on Georgia State looking to rebound from their season opening loss against Virginia Tech.

Masks will be encouraged inside Kenan Stadium, but only required when fans are at indoor locations--such as the Blue Zone, bathrooms, etc.

Before the game, UNC will host a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Tents will be set up from 4 - 7 p.m. outside Kenan Stadium near Gates 5 and 6.

Anyone who receives a COVID-19 inoculation will also receive two free tickets to an upcoming home UNC football game.

Those plans come on the heels of President Joe Biden issuing his sternest COVID-19 warning to date. The president laid into the 80 million eligible Americans who are not yet vaccinated, saying their refusal to get the shot has cost the country dearly.

"We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us," he said. The unvaccinated minority "can cause a lot of damage, and they are."

Biden went on to expand vaccine rules effectively mandating the vaccine for as many as 100 million Americans or requiring them to be tested for the virus weekly.

THURSDAY
9:17 p.m.

The Waren County school board voted unanimously to require all employees and student-athletes to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and for student-athletes to be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week.

Employees and student-athletes have 30 days (until Oct. 9) to get their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine and 60 days (until Nov. 8) to get their second dose, if it's needed to be fully vaccinated.

If there is a medical or sincerely held religious reason why they cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine, they may request an exemption to the vaccination requirement.

Exempted employees will be required to be tested once a week. Exemptions for student-athletes will require them to be tested twice a week, whereas vaccinated student-athletes are only required to be tested once a week.

As a further incentive to get vaccinated, student-athletes who are fully vaccinated and not showing any symptoms of illness will not be required to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19. This provides the best chance for a team to complete its season without having to forfeit games because players are quarantined.

3 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper begged for North Carolinians to step up and get vaccinated to end the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference Thursday.

"How many people need to get sick and die because people don't get this miraculous vaccine?" Cooper said. "How many people need to witness the cruel death of a loved one?"

He added that the vast majority of hospitalizations are happening in people who are not vaccinated. "If you're hesitant, get off social media and get on the phone with your doctor," he added.

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Gov. Roy Cooper urges NC residents to get vaccinated.



State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen echoed Cooper's sentiments, laying out the latest COVID-19 data for the state.

She pointed to the rapid rise in cases over the summer due to the Delta variant--the sharpest increase in cases the state has seen thus far during the pandemic. She added that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was extremely worrisome and that more than a third of people hospitalized were younger than 49.

While more than 59% of North Carolinians older than 12 have been vaccinated, just 35% of teenagers and 40% of young adults between 18 and 24 have gotten the vaccine. Cohen recommended that people add layers of protection, given the high rate of community spread, such as wearing a mask.

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Dr. Mandy Cohen talks COVID trends, thanks healthcare workers at a media briefing Thursday.



"We are 18 months into this pandemic and almost 9 months into the time that vaccines have come onto the scene," Cooper said. "The key to ending this pandemic of course is the vaccine. There's still time to protect yourself."

Cooper added that more than 96% of students in North Carolina schools are in districts where masks are required. Just three school districts are not requiring masks at this time.

"We know that keeping kids learning in the classroom is the most important thing for our students right now. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings and following the science is what we need to do," Cooper said. "The faster we put this pandemic behind us, the sooner we can all rest easy and stay healthy."

Thursday's briefing, meanwhile, comes ahead of another weekend of big outdoor events, including college football and kickoff to the NFL season. Asked if he would attend events like that, including the North Carolina State Fair, the governor said he would - because he's vaccinated.

"If I go, I am going to be careful and if I am around a lot of people outside, I am going to have a mask on," Cooper said. "I am not immunocompromised. Everyone should look at their own situation and make decisions for themselves, particularly for people who have not gotten a vaccination."

12:50 p.m.
6,290 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Thursday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is 11.3%.

3,815 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Carolina.

That's 25 more people than Wednesday.

North Carolina surpassed 15,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.

110 more people were reported from Wednesday.

There are currently 919 adult ICU COVID-19 patients.

456 COVID-19 patients were admitted in North Carolina hospitals in the last 24 hours.

11:35 a.m.
A popular music festival in downtown Raleigh will be a completely outdoor event because of current COVID-19 metrics.

The Hopscotch Music Festival will have two main stages, more than 30 bands and more than 90 vendors.

The shows begin at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and then at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Festival officials said they expect the rain to slack off before the shows begin. Any possible delays or changes due to weather will be announced on the festival website and social media pages.

Click here for current weather updates

People who attend the festival will have to provide proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test from the past 72 hours. Masks will be required in any indoor setting and are strongly encouraged regardless of vaccination status and seating location during the outdoor shows.

Last year, organizers canceled the event because of the pandemic.
If you already bought tickets but you do not want to attend because of the updated protocols, you can receive a refund or roll your tickets over to next year. For more information click here.

9:50 a.m.
Some South Carolina cities are bringing back indoor mask requirements as the state's coronavirus outbreak rivals the height of the pandemic last winter before vaccines were widely available.

The cities of Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce in central South Carolina have all adopted requirements that people wear masks in indoor public places except while eating and a few other exceptions.

South Carolina has never had a statewide mask mandate but it allowed local governments to do so in 2020. Most of the mandates faded away after Gov. Henry McMaster ended a 14-month COVID-19 state of emergency in June when the state was seeing about 150 new cases a day.

Now, South Carolina is seeing about 5,400 new coronavirus cases a day, similar to the pandemic's peak in January.

9:40 a.m.
President Joe Biden is toughening COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal workers and contractors as he aims to boost vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation's economy.

That's according to a person familiar with the plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Biden has signed a new executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors that do business with the federal government. The step comes in advance of a speech Thursday afternoon outlining a six-pronged plan to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots.

Biden has encouraged COVID-19 vaccine requirements in schools, workplaces and university campuses. The White House hopes the strengthened federal mandate will inspire more businesses to follow suit.

9:30 a.m.
President Joe Biden will unveil a new strategy for battling the spread of COVID-19 today.

The plan will be centered around six points, including vaccinating the unvaccinated.

There will be a focus on furthering protection for those who are vaccinated, keeping schools open safely and stepping up requirements for COVID testing and the wearing of face masks.

Finally, the president will focus on protecting the country's economic recovery and improving care for those who have been infected with the virus.

8 a.m.
United Airlines says more than half its workers who weren't vaccinated last month have gotten the shots since the airline announced it will require proof of vaccination.

The airline is detailing rules around its requirement that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 by late September. United officials say employees with an exemption from vaccination because of medical conditions or religious beliefs will be placed on unpaid leave in early October. Those whose exemption requests are denied, and who still refuse to get the shots, will be fired.
United is citing "dire" statistics around the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in explaining its new policy.

THURSDAY MORNING HEADLINES
One in four new COVID-19 cases are among children, according to new data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

That new stat has Durham Public Schools considering taking classes outside.

The company Hobbs Architects proposed new outdoor learning spaces that could be built in a way to take more classes outside during the pandemic and long after.

The company said the proposed outside learning centers could be engineered in a way that protects the children from natural elements.

Durham students recently filed a petition for more virtual classes, due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

In Wake County, it will likely be another two weeks before the school board makes a decision about mandatory COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

Tuesday night's board meeting was emotionally charged and members said they have a lot to consider before casting their vote.

Meanwhile, at Appalachian State University in Boone, all unvaccinated students are now required to get weekly COVID-19 tests.

The university said 52 percent of students and 89 percent of employees are fully vaccinated. That means more than 9,000 students are unvaccinated.
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