Jenkins provides commissioners with latest Covid data, monkeypox update

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Over the weekend, there were three additional deaths of Stanly residents from Covid, bringing the overall cumulative total since the pandemic began to 285, along with 66 new cases, eight of which were among children, according to an update Stanly County Health Director David Jenkins provided to the Board of Commissioners Monday night.

Stanly County has seen a recent uptick in new cases. The health department reported 205 cases last week, a small dip from the 262 the previous week, but the third straight week where new cases exceeded 200. Before late July, the last time the county reported 200 or more new cases was in early February. There have likely been many more cases in the community that have gone unreported as at-home tests are not included in the weekly numbers.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been more than 21,000 reported cases in Stanly County.

Stanly was downgraded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week from having high Covid community levels to now having medium community levels.

Currently, 48 percent of Stanly’s population has received at least dose of the vaccine while 45 percent received both doses, according to state data. Additionally, 25 percent of residents have received the booster shot.

People infected with the BA.5, an Omicron subvariant and the most dominant strain in the country, may develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and muscle pains. However, they are less likely to lose their senses of taste and smell, or to experience shortness of breath, as compared with those infected with Delta or other variants of the coronavirus.

Jenkins told commissioners eight people are hospitalized at Atrium Stanly with Covid, with the ages ranging from mid-60s to mid-90s. Over the past 60 days, eight people have died, with ages ranging from 64 to 90, with only one person being fully vaccinated. Jenkins estimated that most likely several of the deceased had underlying health conditions.

When asked how effective booster shots are against BA.5, Jenkins said they won’t stop everyone from possibly getting infected but will prevent people from getting hospitalized and dying.

“Those that have been vaccinated or previously infected are faring a lot better than those that have not,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said any person in need of tests can come to the health department and receive free at-home test kits.

The department’s Covid vaccine clinic is open Monday through Wednesday as follows:

  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday — Moderna shots for children 6 months to 11 years and Pfizer shots for children 5-11;
  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday — Moderna shots for anyone 12 and up; and
  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday — Pfizer shots for anyone 12 and up.

Monkeypox update

Jenkins also gave a brief update about monkeypox, which President Joe Biden declared a public health emergency last week. There have been 111 identified cases within North Carolina as of Monday, though none in Stanly County, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Cases have been identified in several nearby counties including Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Davidson and Rowan. Almost all cases in the state have been in men who have sex with men.

Monkeypox virus can be spread person-to-person through infected body fluids (including saliva and lesion fluid), items that have been in contact with infected fluids or lesion crusts, and respiratory droplets, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The incubation period is usually between 7 to 14 days.

Typical symptoms include fever, chills, headache, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, skin rash and legions.

The monkeypox vaccine is available to certain individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Have had close contact within the past two weeks with someone who had the virus; and
  • Gay or bisexual men or transgender individuals who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners, been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection or received medications to prevent HIV infection within the past 90 days.

“Bottom line for monkeypox is the majority of our population would not be at risk for this, but it’s just something to make folks aware of, that it’s something out there,” Jenkins told commissioners.

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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