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COVID-19 cases in Cumberland County rise more than 90% in a week

Fayetteville Observer - 7/21/2021

Jul. 21—The number of COVID-19 cases in Cumberland County has increased more than 90% in a week and the number of patients in the hospital with the disease has tripled since May, heath officials said.

The increase in cases and hospitalizations in the county follow a trend across the state and country as the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads.

Cumberland County's latest update, July 19, indicates a total of 31,209 COVID-19 cases and 325 deaths caused by COVID-19, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The state information does not include Fort Bragg, the local Department of Veterans Affairs or the Indian Health Services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 413 new COVID-19 cases within the last 7 days, indicating a 91.2% increase.

Ashley Curtice, the county's deputy health director, said positivity rates between the CDC and the state DHHS dashboard differ because the CDC shows a seven-day total, whereas the state shows a 14-day total.

According to the CDC, the fully vaccinated rates for various age groups in Cumberland County residents are:

— 45% of the total population

— 54.3% of those 12 years old and older

— 57.7% of 18 and older

— 82.1% of 65 and older

The CDC said the rates of county residents who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose are:

— 50.8% of the total population

— 61.3% of those 12 and older

— 64.6% of 18 and older

— 88.7% of 65 and older

Dr. Michael Zappa, Cape Fear Valley Health's chief clinical officer, said last week that the delta variant of COVID-19 is a major factor leading to an increase in hospitalizations from the disease.

Cape Fear Valley Health spokeswoman Chaka Jordan said the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations has increased recently, and the vast majority of those patients are unvaccinated. In May, there were 15 COVID-19 hospitalizations, and since the beginning of July, there have been 45, she said.

Jordan said an increase in travel and a relaxing of rules have resulted in less social distancing and mask use. There also have been more frequent gatherings of crowds with significant numbers of nonvaccinated people, she said.

"In short, there are not enough people vaccinated," Jordan said. "In addition, the delta variant is much more contagious and is more likely to cause severe illness."

Currently, 307 people have died from COVID-19 at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, she said.

Zappa, Chaka and Curtice believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective.

"The vast majority of cases are among those who are unvaccinated. The best way to combat the delta variant is to get vaccinated," Curtice said. "The delta variant is more contagious and transmissible than the other strains of the virus. If you are unvaccinated, continue wearing a mask and socially distancing."

Clinics throughout the community offer free COVID-19 vaccines. The Cumberland County Public Health Department at 1235 Ramsey St. is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily for COVID-19 vaccines. The Hope Mills Library at 3411 Golfview Road in Hope Mills also will provide free COVID-19 vaccines from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Residents should get tested if they are experiencing symptoms and follow CDC and North Carolina Department of Public Health guidance on isolation and quarantine, Curtice said.

In order to locate a local COVID-19 clinic, visit NCDHHS.

Health and education writer Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon can be reached at or 910-486-3561.


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