‘We’ve got to learn to live with it’: Columbus County health director talks about recent COVID-related deaths, rise in cases

‘We’ve got to learn to live with it’: Columbus County health director talks about recent COVID-related deaths, rise in cases
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - When it comes to transmission of the COVID-19 virus across North Carolina, Bladen and Columbus Counties are among nearly 60 counties considered to have high levels.

Columbus County reported four COVID-related deaths within the past month after not seeing any since early March.

“With the four deaths that we have had, all are in later years, and they have many comorbidities as well,” said Columbus County Health Director Kim Smith. “One was fully vaccinated with one booster, and then we had two that were not vaccinated at all, and then we had the one the most recent one had two vaccines, she had not had any boosters.”

Smith says the two vaccinated people who died were not up to date on their first or second boosters, though they were eligible.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, less than half the population in Columbus County has gotten at least one does of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I cannot stress the importance of the vaccine and boosters being up to date. Have some testing supplies at the house with you. Have a plan if you test positive. And consider a mask if you are going into a crowded venue,” Smith said.

Smith also expressed concern about case numbers as students get ready to head back to the classroom.

“They’ve not seen their classmates in a couple of months, they’re gonna want to be close to them, hug them, those type of things and kids aren’t the best for washing their hands frequently, and they’re really good at not washing their hands after they blowing their nose. So, those are those are, I think, some valid concerns.”

Bladen County’s health director, Terri Duncan, said the COVID situation there is similar to Columbus County. Hospitalizations are up, although they haven’t had any recent deaths.

Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties remain at a medium level for transmission.

For more information on the current status of COVID-19, click here.

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