Thirteen people in Onslow County died due to COVID-19 in the past week, according to information provided by Glenn Hargett, assistant county manager.

That brings to 182 the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Onslow County.

In his weekly email detailing COVID-19 statistics, Harget said that Onslow County health officials say that, on average, 175 news cases were confirmed each day between Monday, Aug. 16, and Monday, Aug. 23, he said. In total, there were 1,225 new cases since last Monday.

The current count of Onslow County cases has reached 22,484 as of Monday, Aug. 23. Of those 20,136 cases are recovered. The count of those with active COVID-19 is 2,348.

Onslow County and Onslow Memorial Hospital administrators are saying that this is currently the most intensive time of new COVID-19 cases, according to a recent report from Hargett. New records were set for Onslow’s one-day case count this week, and at Onslow Memorial eight of the 12 beds in the Intensive Care Unit were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

“This is the most intensive number of new cases for the entire pandemic,” Kristen Richmond-Hoover, Onslow County Health Department director, said. On Tuesday, Aug. 17, a new one-day record number was set for Onslow County with 360 cases reported, topping a record set Wednesday, Aug. 11, which broke a record set Jan. 5.

“All of the COVID patients in the ICU are on ventilators,” Dr. Penney Burlingame Deal, Onslow Memorial Hospital CEO, said on Thursday, Aug. 19. “We are currently holding six COVID positive patients in the emergency department.”

The two talked with Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell in a Facebook Live event last week.

The hospital CEO said the current peak is different from the January peak they experienced when they hit 47 patients in-house in January. At that time, the hospital had a total patient count in the 80s. “We currently have a hospital census of 122,” said Deal.

Both Deal and Richmond-Hoover, said this is a virus of the unvaccinated.

“Ninety percent of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated,” said Deal. “Ninety-nine percent of the deaths occur in unvaccinated patients.”

She said UNC Health system, of which the hospital is an affiliate, has done modeling to predict another peak in late September. The hospital is also preparing to expand capacity should that be needed. This includes as a last resort, a mobile hospital setup.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 24, Onslow Memorial Hospital has 41 COVID-19 patients, according to Sophia Bodo, marketing and communications coordinator at the hospital. That is down from 48 on Monday, Aug. 23.

Bodo said that as of Tuesday morning, 41 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Jacksonville hospital. Of those, eight have been vaccinated.

Two of the patients are under 20 years old; five are between 20 and 39; 13 are between 40 and 59; 17 are between 60 and 79; and four are over 80.

Females make up 46 percent and males account for 54 percent.

As of Monday, Aug. 23, the positivity rate from testing in the county is 15.7 percent, up from 15.2 percent on Monday, Aug. 16, according to Hargett’s report. The state’s positivity rate is also up from last week, 13.1 percent this week compared to 12.8 percent on Aug. 16.

About 47 percent of Onslow County’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccination.

“That is below the 53 percent rate for the state,” Hargett said. “Since last Thursday, it was reported that 1,451 Onslow County persons got at least one vaccination dose.”

Onslow County offers all three brands of vaccination on a walk-in basis at the Onslow County Health Department.

And, Hargett reported, the Pfizer vaccine has received full FDA approval.

Call the county’s phone bank at (910) 989-5027 for information on receiving a vaccine.

Email Jimmy Williams at jimmy@tidelandnews.com.

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