Free COVID-19 vaccines are available on Ocracoke and mainland Hyde County. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach

As the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout the state, Hyde County’s cases have also increased.

As of Friday, Hyde County now has 11 active cases, said Hyde County Health Director Luana Gibbs in an interview.

Gibbs said she could not provide a breakdown of how many of these cases are on Ocracoke and whether or not they are the Delta variant, but the local grapevine noted a few are indeed on the island.

The numbers show 706 cases with 685 recoveries to date and 10 deaths, which has been the same since last year.

Gibbs also noted that three of the 11 cases are “breakthrough” cases, meaning that they are in people who have been vaccinated.

Gibbs and other health professionals have said the three vaccines available are not 100 percent effective and were never touted as such.  The Pfizer is 84 to 97 percent effective; the Moderna is 86 to 90 percent; and the Johnson & Johnson is 72 to 86 percent.

And if a vaccinated person does get COVD-19, it should be a milder case, she said.

“The (COVID-19) vaccine is much more effective than the flu vaccine,” she said.

As for the vaccinated public, she said 53 percent of Hyde County has had both shots and 62 percent have had one shot.

The whole point of getting vaccinated is to prevent hospitalizations, she said, and having sniffles for a few days (if one gets a breakthrough cases) is better than having to be in the ICU and on a ventilator.

Notably, she said, her department has gotten busier in the last week with people seeking the vaccine, which are free across the state to anyone 12 and older.

According to information from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), hospitalizations across the state are increasing, particularly among those ages 18 to 49.

An average of more than 5,100 new cases has been reported each day over the last week, more than doubling since July 31. Hospitalizations have more than doubled since July 27 and are at the highest they have been since Feb. 5.

North Carolina providers have now administered more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with vaccinations trending upward as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus spreads through the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced today.

The NCDHHS said COVID-19 vaccines are tested, safe and have been shown to be highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Sixty-two percent of adults 18 and older in the state have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 58% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

To make an appointment for a vaccine, call the Hyde County Health Department at 252-926-4467 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or the Ocracoke Health Center at 252- 489-3622.

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