The Burke County Health Department reported two more deaths from COVID-19 and 45 new cases of the virus on Tuesday.
And the phone number to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine has changed.
The health department said it was notified Tuesday about the 104th and 105th deaths. It said both deaths were COVID-19-related and both died from COVID-19-related complications.
Both of the people were in their 70s and were not hospitalized prior to their deaths, according to its daily briefing on Tuesday.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends of these individuals,” said Burke County Health Director Rebecca McLeod. “It continues to be imperative that residents follow the 3 W’s recommendations, Wear, a cloth face covering when out in public or in any gathering inside or outside and cannot physically distance yourself from others, Wait at least six feet away from others and Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water. Even though there is a vaccine it will take a long time to get everyone vaccinated with two doses so it is still very important to practice these preventive measures and stay home when you are sick.”
The health department reported 7,976 total cases on Tuesday, up from 7,931 cases on Monday.
The Burke County COVID-19 dashboard showed on Tuesday that of the total cases, 1,679 are active cases. It also showed there have been 105 deaths in the county and 29 people are currently hospitalized due to the virus.
The department said the COVID-19 cases in Burke continue to stay high because of the holiday gatherings and travel.
Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge’s COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday showed there are 1,713 active cases in Burke County with 31 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with six of those patients in its intensive care unit. It also had 178 COVID-19 patients in its virtual hospital. The dashboard showed 15% of the hospital’s staffed beds available.
The health department said Tuesday the vaccine registration process has changed to allow more convenient access and appointment times, and the phone system also has been changed to handle a higher volume of calls.
The health department said residents in Burke County who are 65 years or older and wish to get the vaccine should call the Community Vaccine Call Center to schedule an appointment at 828-358-4454. The call center will be open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to help with scheduling.
The health department said it is working in collaboration with Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, Burke County Public Schools and Burke Emergency Management to get vaccines to residents in the priority groups based on guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. The priority groups currently include essential health care workers such as doctors, nurses, dentists and those in long term care/group homes. The groups also include people who are 65 years old and older, according to the department.
“We would like to say again that our commitment is to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly, efficiently, and fairly to all residents who wish to be vaccinated,” the health department said in its briefing on Tuesday.
It said the community continues to receive very limited weekly vaccine allocations from the NCDHHS.
The health department says people will need an appointment to get a vaccine and it will not be able to accept walk-ins.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard showed 4,058 new cases for a total of 684,497 cases with a daily percent positive rate of 11.8% on Tuesday. The department reported a total of 8,139 deaths and 3,881 people currently hospitalized throughout the state on Tuesday.
Anyone with local questions about COVID-19 can call 828-764-9150. The line is answered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If a call is made after hours, on the weekends or on holidays, the caller should leave a message and the call will be returned.