Albemarle Regional Health Services will announce next week whom is eligible for booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and where and when they can get them, the agency said Friday.
ARHS noted that the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control both authorized booster doses of the two vaccines this week, following up on their earlier approval of booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Federal health officials have also authorized health providers like ARHS to offer different vaccines from the one residents originally received — a so-called “mix and match” approach. That means if someone originally received the J&J vaccine, they’re eligible to receive a Moderna booster or vice versa.
ARHS Director Battle Betts said Friday his agency is working to finalize is vaccine distribution plans and will announce plans next week for “who is eligible, along with clinic and appointment information.” He said the agency has “plenty of vaccine to meet demand.”
Betts also said ARHS is awaiting approval from federal officials to begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5-11. Currently only children 12 and older can get that vaccine.
ARHS data released Friday showing the agency administered another 123 booster doses of the Pfzier vaccine this week. Thus far, the agency has administered 1,522 booster doses of Pfzier, 75% of it in Pasquotank and Currituck counties.
The agency also announced another five deaths from COVID-19 this week, raising the region’s death toll from the disease to 343. ARHS said one resident each from Bertie, Chowan, Currituck, Gates and Hertford counties died this week. The Chowan, Currituck and Gates residents were between the ages of 50 and 64, while the Bertie and Hertford residents were over 65.
ARHS data also show new COVID-19 cases in the region increased this week by 398, which is 60 fewer new cases than were reported last week. Active cases, meanwhile, dropped by 50 to 342 after holding steady last week.
Pasquotank continued to reported the largest jump in new COVID cases (183), followed by Currituck (50), Bertie (40), Camden (34), Chowan (31) and Perquimans (23).
Only two counties reported increases in active cases. Camden reported five more active cases than last week, while Perquimans reported one more than last week. The region’s other six counties all reported decreases in active cases, with Bertie seeing the highest drop (38 fewer).
The overwhelming majority of those getting sick — 91.53% since May 1 — continued to be those who aren’t fully vaccinated, ARHS said.
New COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region decreased this week. According to the Centers of Disease Control’s COVID data tracker, 17 new hospitalizations for COVID were reported at area hospitals over a seven-day period ending Wednesday. That compares to 21 new hospital admissions reported over a seven-day period last week.
The majority of the hospitalizations were at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, where 16 COVID-19 patients — 20% of all in-patient beds — were being treated on Friday, according to Sentara Healthcare’s hospitalized patient dashboard.
ARHS data also show that COVID cases at nursing homes and assisted living centers in the region rose this week to 99, up by 12 cases from last week. Elizabeth City Health and Rehabilitation continued to have the majority of the cases — 41 — while also reporting three deaths. Heritage Care was second with 19 cases. One death was reported at Accordious Care-Creekside in Ahoskie this week. The COVID outbreak at the Brian Center in Hertford has been resolved, ARHS said.
ARHS data continue to show the region’s youngest residents — those 17 and younger — making up roughly a quarter of all COVID infections in the region since July 1. The percentage was down .20% from last week, however. Persons ages 25-49 continue to account for the largest share of COVID infections over the past three months: 37.11%. That percentage was also down by .28% from last week.
Children and young teens also continue to have the second-largest share of active COVID cases in the region, but the percentage was smaller this week. According to ARHS, persons younger than 17 accounted for 12.42% active cases this week. That’s down from 15% last week. Again, only residents ages 25-49 accounted for a larger share of active cases.
Persons younger than 49 also continued to make up the smallest percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated: 28.9%. That’s up slightly from last week.
More than 570 persons in the eight-county region received a first dose of vaccine this week. That’s down by more than 200 from last week. The number of those who got a second dose and became fully vaccinated was 787, down about 142 from last week. Nearly 62% of the population 12 and older in the eight counties has now gotten at least one dose of vaccine. A similar percentage is now fully vaccinated.