CARTERET COUNTY — The Carteret County Health Department announced Thursday it received confirmed reports this week of four COVID-19-related deaths of county residents.
The additional deaths make 68 in Carteret County directly attributed to COVID-19 since March 2020. The county does not the release the precise date of death to protect the privacy of the families, officials said.
According to the health department, three of the four individuals who died were in their 70s and one was in their 40s. All four reportedly had underlying health conditions.
Carteret County has confirmed nine deaths since Aug. 11, around when the latest COVID-19 surge began affecting the region. For comparison, the county recorded nine deaths between April and July of this year.
Carteret County public information officer Nick Wilson told the News-Times the county is not reporting the vaccination status of those who died because the information is “not readily available,” and that not all the deaths occurred at Carteret Health Care.
The news of the latest deaths came the same day the county recorded 48 new cases of COVID-19. Out of 6,947 total cases identified since the onset of the pandemic, 335 were considered active Thursday afternoon.
In a Thursday release announcing the recent deaths, public health and local hospital officials emphasized the rate of infection and hospitalization has been “much higher for unvaccinated people compared to vaccinated people.” As of Thursday, at least 24.7% of hospital inpatients at Carteret Health Care in Morehead City were positive for COVID-19. Of the 23 patients hospitalized with the virus Thursday, 20 were not fully vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated.
“Any death is a sad event, and we are saddened that COVID-19 continues to claim lives and cause illness in our communities,” County Health Director Nina Oliver said in the release. “The surge in COVID-19 infections over the past few weeks has been very challenging for our healthcare partners and our community.
“We overwhelmingly recommend the COVID-19 vaccine as the most effective way of preventing complications or severe outcomes from COVID-19. If you are hesitant about receiving the vaccine, please talk with your healthcare provider for advice on vaccination.”
The health department continues to offer COVID-19 vaccines at its weekly vaccination clinic every Friday at its office on Bridges Street. To sign up to receive a vaccine at the clinic, contact the health department at 252-728-8550, option 2.