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County reports 59 new cases on Thursday

Stanly County had 59 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, an increase from the 24 cases reported on Tuesday, which was the slowest daily increase of January, according to data from the county health department.

The health department also reported 20 hospitalizations on Thursday due to the coronavirus. That’s the lowest total since Dec. 22, when only 12 people were hospitalized. It’s also a 40 percent decrease from this time last week, when 38 people were hospitalized.

With three additional deaths reported on Thursday, there are now 113 deaths in the county related to the coronavirus.

At least 5,867 people in Stanly County have tested positive for the coronavirus since March, according to the county health department.

Stanly’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate is at 11.7 percent, down from almost 15 percent last week, per the state Health and Human Services Department, which is higher the state’s current overall average of 7.9 percent.

Below is a breakdown of the number of cases and deaths by the other municipalities according to DHHS data:

  • Albemarle (28001): 2,517 cases and 70 deaths;
  • New London (28127): 916 cases and seven deaths;
  • Norwood (28128): 616 cases and six deaths;
  • Locust (28097): 576 cases and one death;
  • Oakboro (28129): 452 cases and four deaths;
  • Stanfield (28163): 403 cases and two deaths;
  • Richfield (28137): 263 cases and one death;
  • Badin (28009): No information for the town.

For people wanting to get tested, OptumServe, which is contracted by the state, is testing people at the Stanly County Senior Center in Albemarle. Appointments for the senior center location are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 877-562-4850. To schedule an appointment at the OptumServe drive-in testing site in Locust, call 877-562-4851.

Statewide, there have been roughly 8.6 million tests conducted resulting in at least 739,500 cases. A total of at 3,238 people were reported hospitalized Wednesday, and 9,046 people have died.

Though it’s since gone up, on Tuesday, the state reported 3,978 new cases, the lowest daily increase so far this month.

Vaccination appointments being rescheduled 

The Stanly County Health Department is rescheduling first dose vaccination appointments this week and next after receiving no new vaccine doses from the state. Instead, most of the state’s doses are going to mass vaccination events, like the one that occurred last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Our goal is to honor our current appointments even though they may be rescheduled,” said Wendy Growcock, public education specialist with the health department. “We appreciate the patience of the community as we work through the vaccine shortage.”

The Stanly County Health Department has been allocated 300 vaccine doses to be used for the next three weeks, Growcock said. The shipments should arrive each Tuesday or Wednesday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services updated its distribution plan this week to more efficiently allocate a baseline amount of vaccine to each provider within the three-week timeframe. Previously, counties and other vaccine providers would often receive varying vaccine amounts from week to week.

“The distribution strategy has enabled us to plan how many doses we are able to administer each week,” she said. “We hope that the supply will soon increase so we can vaccinate our residents more efficiently.

An issue that many states continue to face is that demand for the vaccine is vastly outstripping supply.

“The biggest problem we face right now is that we have millions of people who need it (vaccines) but only thousands of shots,” Gov. Roy Cooper said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

As of Thursday, the health department had administered more than 2,800 vaccinations.

Around 70 percent of the almost 1.2 million doses sent to the state have been administered, according to DHHS data.

About the second vaccine dose

Since Stanly County administers the Moderna vaccine, people should get their second dose four weeks after receiving the first dose.

While the majority of people in Stanly have only received the first dose (240 people have been administered the second shot per DHHS data), both doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected from the virus.

“While there is some protection that starts a week after the first dose, the second dose is needed to make sure you get the most protection against COVID-19. Getting the second dose makes your immune system stronger if you are later exposed to COVID-19,” said Atrium Health infectious disease physician Dr. Anupama Neelakanta during a Zoom call with reporters this week.

Though people might suffer worse side effects after the second dose (that may feel like the flu), it should go away after 48 to 72 hours.

“While not everyone has side effects after getting the vaccine, many will. This can be a sign that your immune system is working to protect you. You will probably feel more side effects after the second dose, compared to the first dose. This is especially in people who are between the ages of 25 to 55,” Neelakanta said. “When planning for your second dose, try to get it on an easy day.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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