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The original item was published from 12/6/2022 10:56:00 AM to 2/18/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: February 17, 2022

[ARCHIVED] As COVID trends slowly improve, HHS continues to emphasize importance of vaccines, booster

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC - While locally-focused COVID-19 metrics in New Hanover County have recently moved in a positive direction, officials with Health and Human Services continue to stress the need for individuals to get vaccinated and boosted to protect themselves from severe illness and hospitalizations related to COVID.

"We are starting to see fewer daily new cases of the virus and a lower % positivity in our area over the past 14 days, which is a good thing," said Health Director David Howard. "But the virus is still in our community, and we are still categorized by the CDC as having high community transmission of COVID-19. So we can't let our guard down."

After the local % positive test rate reached nearly 40% (39.4) on January 27, New Hanover County's test positivity has slowly declined, dropping to 21.1 as of Thursday afternoon. By comparison, the local rate was under 3% (2.7) back on November 12. The number of new cases has also declined, to an average of 117 new cases a day versus 468 new cases a day just two weeks ago.

"The COVID landscape looks different today than it did two years ago - we have more tools and ways to reduce risks," continued Howard. "One of the most important tools is being vaccinated and then being up to date with a booster dose when eligible. With that protection, people are much less likely to get severely ill. In fact, in recent weeks and factoring in the Omicron variant, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center has reported that a majority of patients with COVID-19 in need of hospitalization are unvaccinated or vaccinated but have not received a booster dose. On average, people with a booster dose typically represent no more than 1 in 10 of those hospitalized. That is significant and shows how important that booster dose really is."

To help keep the community safe, New Hanover County is offering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters four days a week at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street). While walk-ups will be accepted, appointments are highly recommended. Anyone who needs a COVID vaccine or booster can sign-up at for an appointment.

Vaccine appointments will be available during the following days and times:

  • Mondays from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Tuesdays from 9 am to 6 pm.
  • Thursdays from 9 am to 6 pm.
  • Fridays from 1 to 5 pm.

You can find more information about the vaccines or get help scheduling an appointment by visiting at or by calling the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800.

Testing is also available at the Pandemic Operations Center during set days and times. Learn more about testing.

COVID-19 Community Data, as of February 17:    

  • New Hanover County's % positivity over the past 14 days is 21.1 % (this represents positive Molecular (PCR) tests as a % of total PCR tests performed countywide).
  • Over the past 14 days, 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county which is an average of 117.5 cases per day.
  • According to Novant Health NHRMC, as of February 14, the average daily number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized over the previous week was 44.
  • Approximately 146,927 residents (about 63 %) have been vaccinated with two doses or one dose of J&J, and 76,406 residents (about 32.6 %) have been vaccinated with one booster or an additional dose.

View additional COVID-19 information and data at

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