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LUMBERTON — Robeson County’s COVID-19 statistics held steady over the last seven days after three weeks of decline.

There were 204 new virus cases reported by the Robeson County Health Department during the seven-day period from Oct. 5 through Monday.

This is in comparison to the 199 cases reported from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4, although Health Department Director Bill Smith said last week that period’s data was incomplete due to staffing issues.

There have been 25,494 total virus cases in Robeson County during the pandemic.

There were 10 virus-related deaths reported in the county between Oct. 5 and Monday, down from the 12 reported from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. The county’s pandemic death toll is now 419, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services statistics.

The county’s testing positivity rate is 6.2% over the last 14 days and 5.87% over the last five days, Smith said.

“The goal is 5% or less so the county is very close to being at the standard,” Smith said. “All factors are trending in a positive manner — however deaths and hospitalizations for the unvaccinated still remain very high.”

There have been 54,301 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in Robeson County, or 42% of the population; 47,652 people are considered fully vaccinated, or 36%.

“Vaccinations have greatly diminished as the number of cases decline,” Smith said. “The Health Department will continue to offer evening and Saturday vaccination clinics as additional boosters will be made available and children under 12 will be authorized to be vaccinated in the upcoming weeks. FDA and CDC authorizations must be secured prior to implementing these features. “

A community testing site remains in operation at UNC Health Southeastern’s Health Mall on Dawn Drive; this is a free service.

With Halloween approaching in the coming weeks, Smith is discouraging mass door-to-door trick or treating as the virus continues to spread.

“With the low vaccination rates in Robeson County, trick or treaters are encouraged to only go to areas that they are intimate with and for people handing out treats to only do so if they are vaccinated and feel comfortable,” Smith said. “Remember costume masks are not an infection preventive measure.”

UNC Health Southeastern reported 16 virus-positive patients in isolation at its medical center as of Tuesday; of these, 14 are unvaccinated. There are five virus-positive patients in the intensive care unit and four on ventilators, all of whom are unvaccinated.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke reported six active cases among its student body as of late Monday, with three active cases among faculty and staff and five among subcontractors.

This includes five new student cases and three new cases among faculty and staff, and none among subcontractors, since Oct. 4

For the fall semester, there have been 94 total student cases, 34 among faculty and staff and 17 among subcontractors.

Stateside, NCDHHS reported 23,094 new virus cases between Oct. 6 and Tuesday, down from 27,905 from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5. There have now been 1,436,699 total cases in North Carolina during the pandemic.

There were 421 new virus-related deaths reported in the state from Oct. 6 through Tuesday, down from 527 from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5. The state’s pandemic death toll is now 17,233.

There are 2,236 virus-related hospitalizations reported statewide as of Tuesday. This is down from the 2,705 reported on Oct. 5.

There have been 5,664,316 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in North Carolina, or 58% of the population, as of Tuesday; 5,254,503 people are considered fully vaccinated, or 54%.

In other virus-related news, NCDHHS announced Tuesday it has expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide more statewide demographic data for COVID-19 vaccinations. Users will be able to see vaccination rates by race for age groups and ethnicity for age group. The information will be displayed on a new tab named “Additional NC Demographic Data” on the dashboard.

Data by demographics come from North Carolina’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System. Demographic data do not currently include information on doses administered by providers not reporting to the state, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Indian Health Service. Therefore, these data undercount the true number of doses administered to North Carolina residents.

North Carolina has been nationally recognized for the quality and transparency of its vaccine data dashboard. The “Additional NC Demographic Data” tab will provide further insight into race, age and ethnicity.

“North Carolina has prioritized data transparency so we can hold ourselves and our partners accountable for making sure we are getting vaccines to the communities hit hardest by the pandemic,” said Victor Armstrong, NCDHHS chief health equity officer. “The new information shines a light on where gaps still exist and will help focus efforts so we achieve our collective goal of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine.”

Dashboards are updated every weekday afternoon with the most recently available numbers as of that morning. For more information and to view the NCDHHS vaccine data dashboard, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/vaccinations.

North Carolinians can go to MySpot.nc.gov to find a vaccine location near them.

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