County updated on COVID-19

Moore County has recently seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases. According to Matt Garner, Moore County interim health director, the county has set a new 7-day COVID-19 record with 142 new cases, surpassing the old record of 94 set on Jan. 8, 2021.

Addressing the Moore County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, he presented a forecast of the effect of the omicron variant for Moore County and statewide.

Moore County has had a total of 15,680 cases of COVID-19. The number of residents who have made a full recovery stands at 14,358, with 260 residents succumbing to the virus. There are currently 23 Moore County residents in the hospital.

Currently, Moore County has a positivity rate of 20%. This is better than the state average of 27.4% but far exceeds last year’s rate of 15.2%.

Omicron is far more contagious, but it is not as dangerous as the delta variant for those vaccinated. Currently, 80% of new COVID-19 cases are omicron, with the rest being delta. Presently, 58% of Moore County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 54% fully vaccinated. 

According to Garner, the absolute best defense is to be vaccinated and boosted (if age appropriate). Death rates for the unvaccinated are significantly higher. According to a study by the CDC, if you are unvaccinated, you are four times more likely to get COVID-19 and 18 times more likely to die from it.

Testing is also setting record levels. Testing is available at many pharmacies and pop-up locations in Moore County. Take-home tests are also available at most pharmacies. Garner asked people not to go to the ER for testing as the hospital staff is spread thin.

If you do test positive, the CDC has recently changed the isolation procedures. If you are unvaccinated, isolate for five days and retest. If the test is negative, you can resume regular activities but should wear a mask for an additional five days.

If you are vaccinated and are eligible for a booster shot but have not received a booster, you should isolate for five days and then retest. If the test is negative, you can resume normal activities while wearing a mask for five days.

If you are vaccinated and received a booster shot or are not yet eligible for a booster, you can be around people while wearing a mask. The health department is recommending students be isolated for 10 days. You can find more information here.

The commissioners heard a report from Partners in Progress Chairwoman Natalie Hawkins in other business. She reported that Moore County is growing faster than the rest of the state. According to Hawkins, the purpose of economic development is to increase economic prosperity and offer a better quality of life.

The commissioners also announced a series of public hearings to discuss some changes to the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) and approval of a loan for the Cypress Pointe Fire Department. That meeting will be held on Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Commissioners approved a contract for $220,000 for grinding services at the Moore County Landfill. Grinding services is how the county converts yard waste into mulch.
A recent number of retirements has left the county short-handed and is delaying necessary inspections. The commissioners approved the hiring of three new registered Health Environmental Specialists. These specialists provide health and safety inspections for businesses and septic systems. The county hopes to have these new employees by the first of February.
The next meeting of the commissioners is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2022.

File photo: Matt Garner with the Moore County Health Department addresses the board of commissioners. Photo by John Patota/Sandhills Sentinel.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

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