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Wilson sees spike in COVID cases

Posted on May 23, 2022

Updated on May 24, 2022

Top newsLocal newsCOVID-19
Dawn Lashley holds a syringe containing a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as Wilson resident Toni Rucker pulls off for the prescribed waiting period during a late September drive-thru vaccination clinic. "I'm glad I was a big girl this morning,” Rucker said. “I took it like a trooper. It's very important.”

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Dawn Lashley holds a syringe containing a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as Wilson resident Toni Rucker pulls off for the prescribed waiting period during a late September drive-thru vaccination clinic. "I'm glad I was a big girl this morning,” Rucker said. “I took it like a trooper. It's very important.”

Pfizer vaccine doses for adult patients are shown at the Wilson County Health Department.

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Pfizer vaccine doses for adult patients are shown at the Wilson County Health Department.

Dawn Lashley holds a syringe containing a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as Wilson resident Toni Rucker pulls off for the prescribed waiting period during a late September drive-thru vaccination clinic. "I'm glad I was a big girl this morning,” Rucker said. “I took it like a trooper. It's very important.”

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Dawn Lashley holds a syringe containing a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as Wilson resident Toni Rucker pulls off for the prescribed waiting period during a late September drive-thru vaccination clinic. "I'm glad I was a big girl this morning,” Rucker said. “I took it like a trooper. It's very important.”

Pfizer vaccine doses for adult patients are shown at the Wilson County Health Department.

Drew C. Wilson | Times file photo

Pfizer vaccine doses for adult patients are shown at the Wilson County Health Department.

Pfizer vaccine doses for adult patients are shown at the Wilson County Health Department.
Dawn Lashley holds a syringe containing a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as Wilson resident Toni Rucker pulls off for the prescribed waiting period during a late September drive-thru vaccination clinic. "I'm glad I was a big girl this morning,” Rucker said. “I took it like a trooper. It's very important.”

olivia@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7879

Wilson County has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases over the past four weeks. The county reported 100 positive cases for the week ending May 14, an increase from the week prior when officials logged 73.

For the last week of April, Wilson saw 51 newly confirmed cases, according to state data.

“We are seeing an uptick in cases across North Carolina and across Wilson County,” said Wilson County Health Director Teresa Ellen. “However, this is not a cause for panic. We are going to have waves of COVID-19. Vaccines are still our best tool to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. Please remember to test and stay home if you are sick and get treatment right away if you test positive.”

Celita Graham, the Wilson County Health Department’s communications manager, said local hospitalizations for COVID-19 still remain at zero.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the level of transmission in Wilson County is low, Graham said.

She said masking is a personal choice depending on an individual’s level of comfort.

“This is the same advice recommended by the CDC,” she said.

Wilson County has recorded 316 COVID-19-related deaths and 21,990 positive cases since the pandemic began, state data shows.

Wilson County Schools had three students and three staff members diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The Wilson County Board of Education voted May 16 to continue its mask-optional policy for students, employees and visitors in schools and district buildings.

FREE TESTS AVAILABLE

The federal government said last week that all U.S. households are eligible to receive an additional eight free home COVID-19 test kits by mail.

“The tests will be delivered by the United States Postal Service, and there is a limit of three orders per residential address,” Ellen said.

People can order tests online at special.usps.com/testkits.

TESTING LOCATIONS

Wilson County has several testing locations for those who prefer an on-site testing option. The health department isn’t offering on-site tests, but many doctor offices, community health centers, urgent care clinics and pharmacies are available as testing locations. 

The free community testing site provided by OptumServe at the Darden Alumni Center building is temporarily closed due to previously scheduled events, county health officials said. The testing site will reopen Monday, June 6 and provide services Mondays through Thursdays. Walk-ins will be accepted.

To schedule an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting. People without internet access and those registering a minor for a COVID-19 test should call 877-562-4850.

WHAT DO I DO IF I TEST POSITIVE?

Any individual who tests positive should isolate at home for five days, Graham said. On day six, if the patient is fever-free without taking fever-reducing medication for 24 hours, he can return to normal activities. A mask is required for the next five days to prevent further spread, she said.

“If the positive individual is still symptomatic after day five, they should remain home until they are symptom-free,” Graham said.

VACCINES, BOOSTERS AVAILABLE

Health officials say 53% of Wilson County’s population is fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. State data shows 27% of Wilson’s population has had at least one booster or an additional dose.

The health department currently offers the initial, two-dose Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone 5 and older. 

“To strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19, the first booster shot is recommended for anyone 5 years old and older,” Graham said.

RELATED STORY: COVID-19 booster now available for children ages 5-11

In order to be eligible for a booster, she said, the second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine dose must have been received at least five months ago.

Vaccinations and boosters are available by appointment only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. To make an appointment, call the health department at 252-360-0500.

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