WENTWORTH — Four more deaths were added to Rockingham County's COVID-19 statistics on Thursday, bringing the total lives lost to 109 since the start of the pandemic roughly one year ago.
The victims were all in their 70s and 80s and all but one resided in a long-term care facility, said Trey Wright, the county's public health director.
Meanwhile, the county's infection rate held at 4.4% on Friday, below the 5% target the Centers for Disease Control lists as ideal for communities seeking to control the spread of infection effectively.
But increasing infections in young adults and a slight increase in cases of COVID-19 among those 65 and older worried Wright, he said.
"We have an increase (maybe 3-5 cases) over 65 while also seeing the 17-28 groups increasing,'' said Wright, explaining that some cases can be attributed to Easter Holiday celebrations and travel related to the holiday. He further explained that disease contracted during the holiday had now had enough time to incubate and show up as positive illness.
"Several of these cases are related because of travels/visits over the holiday. One positive, and then days later others become symptomatic and test positive,'' Wright said.
Countywide, 7,266 people have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The county of roughly 91,000 has thus far dispensed vaccinations to 42,764, county health records show.
Hospitalizations were at 47 on Friday, up three patients since Tuesday, health department statistics showed.
Vaccines for homebound
The Rockingham County Division of Public Health is conducting a campaign to reach homebound individuals who need COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Rockingham County has an aging population, needing additional assistance for things many may take for granted. For instance, being homebound with the inability to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination clinics hosted by our organization,’’ Katrina White, public information officer for the RCDPH, said in a news release.
Nearly 19% of the county’s residents are 65 or older.
“Rockingham County Division of Public Health understands the importance of providing this invaluable service to members of one of our most vulnerable populations,’’ White said in the release. “In an effort to better serve our community, Rockingham County Division of Public Health will provide “in-home” vaccination services at no cost for those unable to participate in the clinics and/or other resources in the county.’’
To receive the service, county residents should complete a COVID-19 Vaccine Homebound Vaccination Request form. The form may be completed by going to https://forms.gle/nWJjnEBHt8juQGZ79 or by visiting the Rockingham County Human Services page at: https://www.rockinghamcountypublichealth.org/.
For more information and for assistance for those with no access to a computer, call 336-342-8140.
Vaccinated? Still wear your mask
It’s also important for vaccinated individuals to understand they must still wear masks around unvaccinated folks, experts agree.
Researchers don’t yet know if it’s possible for vaccinated individuals to carry the virus while remaining uninfected themselves. For example, scientists aren’t sure if the live coronavirus can travel in the nasal membranes of a well and vaccinated person. If so, someone who is vaccinated could well spread the highly contagious disease.
How to register for vaccines
To sign up for a vaccine, citizens should check with the Rockingham County Department of Heath and Human Services website at: https://www.rockinghamcountypublichealth.org/emergency.aspx or check with Cone Health at conehealth.com/vaccine. Call Cone Health at 336-890-1188 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Vaccines are also available through UNC Physicians Network clinics through UNC Rockingham Health Care in Eden at www.YourShot.org.