CARTERET COUNTY — The county topped 5,000 total confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday with the addition of five new cases reported since Wednesday.
The additional cases bring the overall total to 5,002 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Carteret County since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Of those, the County Health Department reports 34 cases are active as of Friday afternoon and 4,915 have recovered.
The county’s death toll from the virus remains at 53.
In addition, Carteret Health Care in Morehead City had one COVID-related hospitalization Friday, the same number as reported Monday and Wednesday.
According to data the health department released as part of its weekly, detailed coronavirus report Friday, the percent of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests as a proportion of total tests conducted was around 3% for the week ending May 8. That percentage experienced a brief spike reaching nearly 10% in early April, but has declined steadily since then.
Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced sweeping changes to the state’s coronavirus policies, including lifting the mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, in most public settings and removing gathering capacity limits and social distancing requirements, effective immediately. The change comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday fully vaccinated people can resume most activities without wearing a mask or social distancing.
“That means in most settings, indoors or outdoors, the state of North Carolina will no longer require you to wear a mask or to be socially distant,” Gov. Cooper said at a news conference Friday afternoon announcing the statewide changes. “This is a big step forward in living our lives the way they were before the pandemic.”
The indoor mask requirement will remain in place on public transportation and in child care centers, schools, prisons and certain health care settings, like nursing homes.
Also, the state began vaccinating children ages 12 to 15 against COVID-19 this week thanks to federal approval of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group. The County Health Department said it will offer vaccination clinics for 12- to 15-year-olds throughout the month of June.
Anyone age 12 years and up who wishes to receive the vaccine can call the health department at 252-728-8550, option 2, to schedule an appointment, or visit myspot.nc.gov to find a local provider offering the shot.