NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – While COVID-19 metrics in New Hanover County have improved over the last few weeks, this time of year is the beginning of respiratory virus season. Across the country, medical professionals have seen a spike in influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases. These viruses along with new COVID-19 variants are a reminder that the best defense against illness is protective measures.
“No one likes to be sick, especially when getting ready to spend quality time with friends and family as the holidays approach,” said Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell. “There are a lot of ways to stay proactive when it comes to your health, starting with washing your hands routinely and staying home when you are not feeling well. There are also benefits of wearing face coverings, increasing ventilation in indoor spaces, and we know vaccines can help prevent severe illness or hospitalization. It’s important to get your flu shot and make sure you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccine or booster so your protection can be at its highest level.”
Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and RSV are similar and can include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and other cold-like symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, at-home COVID-19 tests are available at your local pharmacy or can be picked up for free at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street) during hours of operation. Testing for flu and RSV can be done by consulting with your healthcare provider.
Flu Drive Thru, COVID boosters available on Election Day
New Hanover County Health and Human Services will be hosting a special Election Day Drive Thru Flu and COVID Vaccine event on Tuesday, November 8 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the HHS parking lot at 1650 Greenfield Street.
Individuals interested in receiving a flu shot can stop by any time during those hours and they don’t have to leave the comfort of their vehicle to get vaccinated. The vaccine will be provided to everyone at no out-of-pocket cost. Individuals with insurance will be asked to present their card so it can be filed, but proof of insurance is not required. Both the standard flu vaccine and high dose vaccine for those 65 and older will be available.
In addition to flu vaccines being available, representatives from the Pandemic Operations Team will also be on site offering no cost bivalent COVID-19 booster shots to anyone eligible to receive one. These boosters can be provided at the same time an individual gets their flu shot and, if the person has not experienced any previous adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, they do not have to wait 15 minutes before leaving. For anyone looking to receive a primary COVID-19 vaccine dose, the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street) will be open across the street with no appointment necessary.
Initial vaccines and updated bivalent boosters are available at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street) throughout each week. Appointments are recommended but not required and can be made by visiting TakeMyShot.NC.gov.
Vaccines and boosters are available during the following days and times:
- Mondays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Wednesday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Thursdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Fridays from 9 am-5 p.m.**
**The Pandemic Operations Center will be closed on Friday, November 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
Members of the community are also encouraged to come pick up free at-home tests and masks during operating hours at 1507 Greenfield Street in Wilmington.
For more information on the Pandemic Operations Center, vaccines, boosters, or testing, visit Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus or call the Pandemic Operations Call Center at 910-798-6800.
Low COVID-19 Community Level
Following its weekly review of county-specific data, the CDC has kept New Hanover County at a low COVID-19 community level. Recommended precautions for this level include being fully vaccinated and boosted, and testing for COVID if you develop symptoms. Mask usage at this community level is optional. The CDC plans to update community levels weekly, so residents can check the CDC website here to know the current community impact level.
COVID-19 Community Data, as of November 4:
- New Hanover County’s percent positivity over the past 7 days is 3.8 percent (this represents positive Molecular (PCR) tests as a percent of total PCR tests performed countywide).
- Approximately 64.4 percent of New Hanover County residents have completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.
- Since March 1, 2020, there have been 60,777 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, resulting in 446 deaths.