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NC COVID-19 Blog: Guilford County's percent positive nearly doubles NC rate

Get the latest updates from Gov. Roy Cooper and the state task force on the vaccine supply in North Carolina and find out where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Get the latest updates on COVID-19 and vaccine supply from Gov. Roy Cooper and the state task force, health departments, universities, school districts, and more in this story. We'll put North Carolina's COVID-19 numbers in context for you, and explain what it could mean for the reopening process. Click here to find your spot to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2021

12 p.m. - Daily North Carolina coronavirus numbers.

ANALYSIS 

  • North Carolina reached the NCDHHS’s percent positive goal of 5%.  Health officials will watch to see if the rate can hold for 14-straight days before making widespread changes.
  • Hospitalizations statewide reached their lowest numbers since mid-November
  • Guilford county recorded seven COVID-19 deaths in the last day and a has percent positive nearly double the state’s rate.

STATEWIDE DATA

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 3,227
  • Percent positive: 5.7%
  • Total cases: 836,650
  • Hospitalizations: 1,780 (lowest since Nov. 23 per WFMY News 2's records)
  • Cone Health: 115; ICU 67% full
  • Total deaths: 10,820

9 a.m. -- Forsyth County Department of Public Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health, and Novant Health are teaming up to vaccinate teachers, the agency announced in a press release. Teachers become eligible for vaccinations on Feb. 24. 

"Once the state opens up Group 3, teachers, school employees and child care workers will be added to the list of those who are eligible to be vaccinated. Vaccinations for healthcare workers and seniors 65 years of age and older will continue. All three organizations will be working together to coordinate vaccine doses, staff and appointments to help meet demand, which at this time far exceeds the supply of vaccine allocated by the state," Forsyth Co. Health Department said. 

The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School (WS/FCS) system has 9,336 employees and 100 contractors. So far, approximately 800 school system employees, eligible under Groups 1 and 2, have been vaccinated. Moving forward, WS/FCS and private schools in Forsyth County will schedule vaccinations for their employees on a weekly basis.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021

2:45 p.m. - NCDHHS releases latest COVID-19 data for the state. Cone Health hospitalizations are holding steady with 121 hospitalizations Thursday and ICU availability increasing 69% full. Men edge out women in hospital demographics with majority being white, between the ages of 60 to 80 and older.

STATEWIDE

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 3,916
  • Percent positive: 6.2%
  • Total cases (including recoveries): 833,423
  • Current hospitalizations: 1,892
  • Total deaths: 10,766

2:30 p.m. - Gov. Cooper discussed the progress North Carolina has seen in recent weeks concerning the coronavirus.

"For the first time since November, the number of people hospitalized by COVID-19 has dropped below 2,000," the governor said.

Those numbers have led to the reopening of school systems across North Carolina.

"By mid-march, 95% of our school districts plan to provide in-person instruction," Cooper said.

RELATED: Gov. Roy Cooper gives COVID-19 update as ice storm causes vaccine delays

6:30 a.m. - Davidson County Health Department reschedules all Thursday COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The DCHD said all appointments made for Thursday, Feb. 18 will be rescheduled to Tuesday, Feb. 23. 

There is no need to call to reschedule, the DCHD said. The appointment times were kept the same, officials said. For example, if you have a vaccine appointment for 1 p.m. on Thursday, it is now scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

If you are unable to make the rescheduled vaccine appointment, you can call the Davidson County Health Department at (336) 242-2300.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2021

6:00 p.m. - Guilford County Department of Public Health has postponed COVID-19 vaccinations.

That includes locations at High Point University Community Center, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and the Greensboro Coliseum.

Health leaders said community members with vaccine appointments for Thurs., Feb. 18, and Friday, Feb. 19 are encouraged to keep their same appointment time and report to their designated vaccine clinic on Monday, Feb. 22 and Tuesday, Feb. 23.

RELATED: Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments in the Triad rescheduled ahead of ice threat Thursday

You will also receive a phone call from the Guilford County automated phone system to confirm or update your vaccine appointment.

The county has also closed the COVID-19 testing site at both the High Point location on East Green Drive and the Greensboro Coliseum testing location at Piedmont Hall due to the ice storm.

12 p.m. -- Cone Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics and testing sites will be closed Thursday, Feb. 18 and Friday, Feb. 19. The action is due to the potential for bad weather in the area tomorrow.

The vaccination clinics impacted are at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, in Greensboro, the Burlington Manufacturer’s Outlet Center (BMOC) in Burlington and a community clinic at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on East Market Street in Greensboro.

People who have appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at the coliseum or BMOC will be offered an appointment on Saturday or Sunday. We are working with community partners on a new date for the community clinic. People with vaccine appointments are being notified by email and/or phone.

The COVID-19 testing sites closing are at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, Green Valley campus in Greensboro and Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville. 

11:30 a.m. -- Guilford County vaccine appointments scheduled for Thursday and Friday will be rescheduled due to inclement weather, Guilford County EMS tweeted.

Guilford County's GEANI ALERT system sent out a text saying, "All 2/18/21 COVID-19 vaccine appointments postponed until 2/22/21 due to vaccine shipment delays." 

8:35 a.m. -- Due to winter weather, COVID vaccine shipments will be delayed for Randolph County Public Health, the health department said in a release. 

The COVID vaccine appointment phone line will be closed. Appointments for Thursday, Feb. 18 will be rescheduled. The appointment line will reopen once the health department knows when to expect more vaccine shipment. 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2021

3:15 p.m.  -- MAKO Medical Laboratories recently identified eighty-eight variant cases of COVID-19. 

“Our sequencing efforts continue to follow reported trends of rising COVID-19 variants across the United States,” said Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at MAKO Medical. “We value our partnerships with state health officials as we recognize the importance variant identifications have on the overall understanding of the virus and its mutation. We believe this work is vital to the health and safety of citizens across the United States.”

 Since January, MAKO has sequenced nearly 372 samples and has identified 163 variant cases. Samples that have undergone sequencing contained variant markers such as “S gene drop-out” identified by qPCR.  The sequencing process can take between 2-3 days, and MAKO performs these tests through its partnership with state and local health officials in an effort to develop a comprehensive understanding of COVID-19 and its mutations. 

 According to a release, the predominant variant remains the B 1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, which made up the overwhelming majority of the latest variant cases reported by MAKO. Additionally, MAKO identified eleven cases of the B.1.351 variant in South Carolina.

12 p.m. - North Carolina reported less than 2,000 new COVID-19 for the first time since July on Tuesday. At least 92% of total COVID-19 cases have recovered, NCDHHS said. Health officials are cautiously optimistic about the improving COVID-19 numbers in North Carolina. 

There are currently the fewest number of people hospitalized in North Carolina since late November, state health officials report.

Statewide numbers:

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 1,988
  • Percent positive: 7.4%
  • Total cases: 826,340
  • Current hospitalizations: 1,958
  • Total deaths: 10,562

11:50 a.m. - Cone Health sets aside more than a third of vaccines for minorities. Cone Health officials said there is a disproportionate amount of white people receiving the vaccine. Access, trust and familiarity are all issues for minority groups when it comes to getting the vaccine, research suggests.

The healthcare network is now taking the initiative to improve these issues.

RELATED: Cone Health sets aside 35% of vaccines for minorities

8:20 a.m. -- All 3,400 vaccine appointments were filled in under 20 minutes by Guilford County Public Health. The health department will post updates on its website when more appointments become available. 

8 a.m. -- The Guilford County Health Department is taking new vaccine appointments Tuesday morning. Phone lines will open at 8 a.m. There will be 3,400 shots available and you can expect them to go fast. Officials recommend signing up on healthyguilford.com to avoid waiting for someone to pick up your call. The appointments are for people in Group 1 and Group 2.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2021

12 p.m. -- North Carolina's latest COVID-19 data 

Hospitalizations statewide decreased to the lowest reported since Nov. 29, according to our records. 

Cone Health hospitalizations decreased to the lowest reported since Nov. 20, before Thanksgiving. 

Guilford County reported 19 recent deaths and a percent-positive higher than the state. 

STATEWIDE DATA

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 2,458
  • Percent positive: 7.7%
  • Total cases (including recoveries): 824,352
  • Hospitalizations: 1,941



FACTS NOT FEAR

Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the safety measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Abide by the three W's. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands, and waiting at least six feet from another person. You also want to avoid touching your face and make sure to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it away.

WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS website.

NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE 

The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

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