Davidson County sees 14% decrease in COVID-19 cases as new variant looms on the horizon

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The impact of COVID-19 in Davidson County is fluctuating with a 14% decrease in total cases and no deaths, but an 11.6% increase in the percent of positive tests and continued high community transmission in the past week.

This comes as a newly identified variant of the virus, Omicron variant, has been identified as a “concern” by the Center for Disease Control.

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According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Davidson County has had a total of 220 new cases of the virus in the past seven days, for a total of 26,823 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. This is a 14% decrease in cases in the past seven days.

The previous week, the Davidson County Health Department reported 354 cases in a 10 day period.

As of Nov. 30, there have been a total of 319 deaths since 2020, but no reported deaths in the past 14 days.

Related story: Davidson County Schools and other employers get reprieve from requiring vaccination status on employees

Despite a decrease in overall cases, Davidson County continues to be in the high category for community transmission. The CDC determines community transmission to be high if there are over 100 new cases per 100,000 people and over 10% percentage positive in the past seven days.

Davidson County has a 11.6% percent positive rate and has had 147 cases per 100,000 people in the past week.

Vaccination rate

As of Nov. 30, 45% of people living in Davidson County are fully vaccinated and 48% have had a least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after they've been given a single-dose shot (Johnson & Johnson) or a second shot (either Pfizer or Moderna).

The Davidson County Health Department has begun offering vaccinations for children under the age of 12 years old and adults needing their first rounds or booster shots. These booster shots are available at the health department on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

More: Health organizations in Davidson County start COVID-19 vaccinations for children after CDC approval

The county vaccination rate may be a factor since a new variant of the virus has been identified, prompting new concerns of another outbreak, similar to the Delta variant.

Omicron variant identified

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa last week and according to the World Health Organization is likely to quickly spread around the globe and could result in "severe consequences".

The WHO said there is currently no information to suggest symptoms connected with omicron differ from those associated with other variants. However, it said preliminary evidence raises the possibility the variant has mutations that could help it both evade an immune-system response and make it more transmissible.

The United States joined the European Union and several other countries in instituting travel restrictions on visitors from southern Africa.

More: North Carolina's $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

But so far there hasn’t been any impact of this new variant. As of Sunday, North Carolina reported far fewer coronavirus cases, adding 9,199 new cases. That's down 29.7% from the previous week's tally of 13,078 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Across North Carolina, cases fell in 88 counties, with the best declines in Mecklenburg County, with 889 cases from 1,253 a week earlier; in Wake County, with 956 cases from 1,226; and in Guilford County, with 396 cases from 638.

Hospitalizations increase

Hospitals in 25 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 25 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 27 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.

Davidson County is in the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition with Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties.

On Nov. 30 there were people 328 in the THPC hospitalized due to COVID-19. Out of these 92 were ICU patients, which is 26% of all patients hospitalized for COVI. According to the NCDHH hospitalization tracker, there are currently 420 ICU beds in use and only 96 beds left out of all the hospitals in the group. Out of the 611 ventilators available, 213 are currently in use.

General news reporter Sharon Myers can be reached at sharon.myers@the-dispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @LexDispatchSM.

This article originally appeared on The Dispatch: Davidson County sees 14% decrease in COVID-19 cases as new variant looms

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