Another County Virus Death Reported
Last updated 8/26/2021 at 10:53am
On Wednesday, Transylvania Public Health reported 124 additional cases of COVID-19 and one additional death in the past week, for a total of 2,972 cases and 36 deaths among county residents since the pandemic started.
As of Wednesday, 153 county residents were in isolation for COVID-19 (within 10 days of symptom onset or 10 days of a positive test). Of the 36 deaths, 30 individuals were hospitalized prior to death, and an average of 19 days passed between the COVID-19 diagnosis and their death. These individuals ranged in age from 52 years to 104 years, with 25% of these deaths among ages 50-64, 22% among ages 65-74, and 53% among ages 75 and older. A majority of the county residents who died from COVID-19 (56%) were female. Over 89% of these deaths have been among White individuals, 8% were among Black or African American individuals, and 3% were individuals of other races; 3% of deaths have been among Hispanic individuals. (For comparison, about 91% of all Transylvania County residents are White, 5% are Black or African American, and 2% are other races; 3% of county residents are Hispanic.)
Transylvania County remains in a high level of transmission as defined by the CDC’s Community Trans-mission Map. New cases of COVID-19 continue to increase statewide and throughout the nation. Hospitalizations in North Carolina remain high. Cases in Transylvania County increased 4% in the past seven days compared to the previous seven days. Of the new cases reported in the past seven days, 41 new cases (33%) were children ages 0-17, and 22 (18%) were in children ages 0-11 who are not eligible to be vaccinated.
On Aug. 18, Public Health reported that of all the people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, ages ranged from 26 years to 104 years; 18% were ages 25-49; 25% were ages 50-64; 18% were ages 65-74, and 39% were ages 75 and older. Most people who have been hospitalized (71%) have been male. About 87% of people who were hospitalized have been White; 10% have been Black or African American; and 2% have been other races.
A total of nine cases of COVID-19 (five residents and four employees) have been reported in the ongoing outbreak at The Oaks. The outbreak at Kingsbridge House will be closed, as no new cases have been identified for 28 days. Since the start of the pandemic, 279 total cases associated with 10 total outbreaks have been identified in congregate living facilities in Transylvania County. A cluster of at least five cases of COVID-19 has been identified among students associated with the Brevard Middle School football team. Testing of all players was completed on Aug. 20 and those who tested negative were allowed to resume practice. A total of six cases (four students and two teachers) have been identified in the school cluster associated with a summer school program at Pisgah Forest Elementary School. This outbreak includes students and staff who normally attend Brevard Elementary and Pisgah Forest Elementary.
A workplace cluster of at least five cases of COVID-19 has been identified among employees at Transylvania County Department of Social Services. A total of 80 cases have been associated with The Wilds camp, including six Transylvania County residents. The worksite cluster of 5 cases associated with Haywood EMC will be closed, as no new cases have been identified for 28 days.
Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 and anyone who has been a close contact to someone with COVID-19 (five to seven days after their last exposure). Testing for COVID-19 is available in Transylvania County at private health care providers, CVS, Mercy Urgent Care, Pardee Urgent Care and Walgreens. At-home test kits are also available for purchase at local stores and for free by request at http://www.pixel.labcorp .com/nc. Transylvania Public Health does not offer COVID-19 testing for the general public.
A total of 16,970 Transylvania County residents (49%) have received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and 16,083 county residents (47%) have been fully vaccinated. (This includes all providers in all counties in North Carolina, but does not include people vaccinated in other states.) Transylvania Public Health has given a total of 18,929 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The FDA has granted full approval for the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech has been granted full FDA approval for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in those ages 16 or older and will be marketed under the name “Comirnaty.” This vaccine also continues to be available under Emergency Use Authorization for individuals ages 12 to 15 years and for a third dose in certain immunocompromised in-dividuals. The FDA initially granted EUA in December 2000 based on safety and effectiveness data from a randomized, controlled, blinded ongoing clinical trial of thousands of individuals. The decision for full approval was based on updated data from the clinical trial that included a longer duration of follow-up in a larger clinical trial population.
Although Public Health continue to see highly effective protection against hospitalizations and severe outcomes for people who are fully vaccinated, it is seeing a decrease in vaccine effectiveness against mild to moderate infection – people getting sick but not severely ill and needing hospitalization. To continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 as we head into the winter, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that planning is underway to support booster shots for the general population. Boosters can provide continued protection, especially as the Delta variant sweeps through the United States. Boosters for the general population will be available pending full review and recommendations by the FDA and the CDC, likely beginning the end of September. Once authorized by the FDA and CDC, people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be eligible for a booster likely starting eight months after their second dose. Johnson & Johnson has announced a study showing that a booster shot of its vaccine after six months improves immune responses, but the CDC and FDA have not issued any recommendations regarding J&J boosters at this time.
Transylvania Public Health will be offering additional COVID-19 doses for immunocompromised individuals at Transylvania County Library on Thursday, Sept. 2 and Friday, Sept. 3. Appointments are required and can be made online at http://www.transylvaniahealth.org or by calling (828) 884-4007. These additional doses are available only for people with certain conditions, which includes those who are undergoing cancer treatment, have received organ transplants, have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, have advanced or untreated HIV infection, or are taking high-dose steroids or other medications that suppress the immune system.
People should talk to their health care provider about their medical conditions and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them, but may self-attest to their medical condition. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available. The additional dose must be the same vaccine type (Pfizer or Moderna) that they previously received and should be given at least 28 days after their second dose. People should bring their vaccination cards or other proof of their previous vaccinations.
Public Health continues to offer in-office COVID-19 vaccinations each week Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., and 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m .; no appointment is needed. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and J&J are available, but supplies may vary from week to week. Please call 884-4007 for more information.