‘Critical spread:’ Edgecombe County seeing increased amount of COVID-19 cases amid low vaccine demand

Local News

A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

TARBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — COVID-19 cases in Edgecombe County are climbing. Public Health Director Karen Lachapelle went over the numbers in her office Friday afternoon.

“I’m very concerned. One case of COVID-19 is too many in your county,” said Lachapelle.

As of April 16 there were 5,242 COVID-19 cases in the county.

“I can’t say I wasn’t expecting an increase, maybe not this much of an increase,” continued Lachapelle.

Edgecombe County has the highest percent positive of COVID-19 cases in the state at 11.2 percent. The county moved from significant, substantial, and now critical community spread in a month.

“We are seeing more households spread than anything else we’re seeing in our county,” she explained.

Lachapelle said she can’t pinpoint why the county is seeing an increase, but wonders if some people are becoming too relaxed. People who live in the county, like Donia Simmons seem to agree.

“I think a lot of people have felt like it’s okay. It’s safe now that the schools are open and a lot of businesses are open,” said Simmons.

She said people need to continue taking precautions. “It’s still not safe going out not washing your hands and not wearing your mask,” said Simmons.

As the county deals with increasing COVID-19 cases, the demand for the vaccine is dropping. The health director said at one point they received 1,000 calls a day for vaccine appointments. That number is down to 100.

Due to the drop in demand, the health department will change its COVID-19 vaccine clinic hours. It’s moving from five days a week to two. “We’ve gone from 250 shots a day two to maybe 100 to 125.”

Lachapelle said her department is working harder to get the message out that the pandemic is not over and is encouraging the community to follow the 3w’s.

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