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COVID-19 deaths decrease in Catawba County; too soon to tell if delta is on decline
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COVID-19 deaths decrease in Catawba County; too soon to tell if delta is on decline

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Four Catawba County residents died of COVID-19 over seven days, a sharp decrease from last week.

The deaths, from Oct. 7 through Wednesday, were reported by Catawba County Public Health. The Wednesday prior, on Oct. 6, 15 deaths were reported in seven days.

The decrease in deaths is mirrored by recent decreases in cases and hospitalizations, according to Emily Killian, Catawba County Public Health community engagement specialist.

“With the rises and falls in COVID-19 transmission, we usually see case numbers change, followed not long behind by hospitalization numbers and then a little later by death counts,” Killian said. “With the delta wave, case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths all three rose at a tremendous rate for several weeks, then it looked like case numbers plateaued and fell, then hospitalization numbers began to fall. With today’s death numbers, we began to see a decrease there, as well.”

The decreases could mean the wave of COVID-19 caused by the delta variant has come to a peak and is on the decline. Killian said it is still too soon to tell. “It is too early to tell what will happen in the coming weeks, with the winter on its way,” she said. Winter often brings an increase in respiratory illness, so public health is keeping an eye on COVID-19 as the temperature drops, Killian said.

The delta variant is still spreading in the county right now, Killian said. Wednesday, 391 new COVID-19 cases were reported for the seven days prior and 46 residents were hospitalized. Those numbers were slightly higher than the week before.

“While we don’t know what the future will bring with COVID-19, prevention measures — vaccination, social distancing, masking when around others, and handwashing — remain the best tools we have to limit additional waves,” Killian said.

The new cases reported Wednesday put the county’s total at 24,471 cases since the pandemic began. There have been 415 residents who have died of COVID-19.

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As of Wednesday, there were 81,547 county residents who have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

As of Wednesday, statewide, there have been 1,439,938 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to NCDHHS. There were 2,277 people hospitalized with the virus as of Wednesday and 17,330 have died.

Hospitalizations

Catawba Valley Medical Center was caring for 43 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday, according to the hospital’s daily update. That is the same number of patients the hospital was caring for a week earlier.

Of those patients, 36 were unvaccinated. The hospital had 11 COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, all of whom were on ventilators. Two ICU patients are vaccinated.

Frye Regional Medical Center has more than 30 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to Marketing and Communications Director Ann Metz. About 88% of the patients are unvaccinated.

In Lenoir, Caldwell UNC Health Care had 28 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday. The hospital had six patients in the ICU as of Tuesday, all of whom were on ventilators. One of the ICU patients is vaccinated.

Burke County’s Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge had 30 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday, according to the hospital’s daily update.

The hospital system has nine COVID-19 patients in the ICU. None of the ICU patients are vaccinated. Four of the nine are on ventilators.

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