We keep track of the most recent information on the coronavirus and vaccines in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
61 additional deaths reported
At least 1,485,455 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 18,191 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,777 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, up from 1,214 on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, there were 61 deaths linked to the coronavirus. Health officials do not specify the dates on which the newly reported deaths occurred.
At least 1,194 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 347 adults who are patients in intensive care units, health officials said.
On Monday, the latest date with the information available, 4.5% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or less is the target rate for slowing the spread of the virus.
About 71% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 67% have been fully immunized. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.
Outdoor mask rule dropped for Wake student athletes
The Wake County school system has dropped the requirement for exterior masks for group members and student-athletes.
The school board voted on Tuesday to make it optional for these groups to wear face coverings outside during school events, The News & Observer reported. The district required students to wear masks except when training or actively playing.
Wake still requires students and workers to mask themselves when inside.
“In consultation with our public health experts, we do not anticipate any change in indoor facial coverage requirements until Jan. 1, 2022,” said Paul Koh, assistant superintendent of university services.
COVID treatments available in North Carolina, but options are limited
While there is no cure for COVID-19, experts say there are limited treatment options in North Carolina and other parts of the country.
So far, the antiviral drug Remdesivir is the only treatment that has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The News & Observer reported. Certain other options, including monoclonal antibody treatments, have received emergency use authorization.
Meanwhile, a drug tested at UNC-Chapel Hill has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization among those infected. The drug, a pill called molnupiravir, comes from the pharmaceutical company Merck.
But health experts have said treatments cannot replace COVID-19 vaccination.
“I’d rather prevent a fire than put out a fire,” said Dr. David Wohl, infectious disease expert at UNC-Chapel Hill.
What NC Doctors Say About COVID Injections For Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11.
After the recommendation, only Pfizer vaccine is available for children in this age group. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only available for adults, The Charlotte Observer reported.
In the Charlotte area, Atrium Health, Novant Health, StarMed and Mecklenburg County are among the sites that plan to offer injections to children. Statewide, pharmacies and healthcare providers are also rolling out vaccines, with a list available at MySpot.nc.gov.
Doctors say the vaccine is safe for children and will prevent more COVID-19-related deaths among them. It will also contribute to coronavirus hospitalizations, which doctors say have increased in children. These hospitalizations are often very serious, said Dr. Amina Ahmed, pediatric infectious diseases expert at Atrium Health.
“We know that in real life (the vaccine) definitely works in teenagers,” Ahmed said. “So we’re very happy to have this available for (ages) 5-11. We were waiting for this day.”
You can find more answers to common questions about the vaccine and children here.
This story was originally published 3 November 2021 7:07 a.m.