You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

COVID vaccine live updates: Here’s what to know in North Carolina on Oct. 20

The Charlotte Observer logo The Charlotte Observer 10/20/2021 Hayley Fowler, Simone Jasper, The Charlotte Observer

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

More than 2,600 cases added

At least 1,457,798 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 17,640 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday reported 2,610 new COVID-19 cases, up from 1,374 on Tuesday.

Sixty-five additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Wednesday. Health officials don’t specify the specific dates for the newly reported deaths.

At least 1,811 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, including 498 adult patients who are being treated in intensive care units, health officials said.

On Monday, the latest date with available information, 6.5% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 71% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 66% have been fully vaccinated. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

Attendance drops as State Fair returns

After COVID-19 canceled the N.C. State Fair in 2020, some are welcoming a return to social activities.

“I’m so happy to see people again,” Debbie Anderson said. “It’s a small sense of normalcy, but I’ll take what I can get.”

Five days in, the fair saw 60,000 fewer attendees than it did in 2019. Officials said some expected the drop as people avoid crowded areas due to the coronavirus.

So far, about 90 attendees have gotten vaccinated. Fairgoers aren’t required to be vaccinated or wear masks, but both precautions are encouraged, The News & Observer reported.

Wake schools could soon start voluntary COVID testing

Wake County schools on Tuesday shared a plan for voluntary COVID-19 testing on campuses where there are active or suspected clusters of cases.

After the district took time to launch a testing program, students and staff could be able to opt in by November.

The plan is three phases, and federal requirements mean unvaccinated workers would need to get tested by the last phase. Students participating in the program would have to get permission from parents, The News & Observer reported.

During a school board meeting, some speakers called for more to be done while others urged the district to not move forward with the program, citing the possibility that students will have to go into quarantine and miss school if cases are identified.

Also in the Triangle area district, administrators have canceled school on Nov. 12, citing coronavirus-related stresses. Those include safety measures and staffing shortages that affect how schools are running.

“Given vacancies, given what our staff has been going through covering for those vacancies, having time for our children to spend a little more time with their families, having our staff have a moment to reflect and to plan is appropriate during this time,” said Lindsay Mahaffey, vice chair of the school board.

COVID clusters reported at 21 Triangle schools

The latest state health department data shows at least 21 schools in the Triangle have active COVID-19 clusters — slightly higher than the 19 clusters reported in area schools last week.

The clusters were found in eight schools in Durham, six in Wake County, four in Orange County, two in Franklin and one in Harnett County, The News & Observer reported.

A cluster is defined as five or more cases connected over a two-week span.

But officials say there is a time lag between when coronavirus cases are identified and when they are listed on the state report. Schools may have more or fewer COVID cases than are shown.

Triangle-area hospital to open after pandemic forced delay

A new hospital is opening in the Triangle area after a recent surge in coronavirus cases caused a delay.

UNC Rex Holly Springs plans to open its doors on Nov. 1, later than the September date that was originally planned.

As coronavirus infections peaked in the late summer, Rex decided to keep its staff at its main hospital in Raleigh. But with that location now seeing fewer COVID-19 patients, staff can move to the Holly Springs facility, The News & Observer reported Tuesday.

The hospital will have 300 workers when it opens at N.C. Highway 55 and Avent Ferry Road in Holly Springs.


More from The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Observer
The Charlotte Observer
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon