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2 COVID-19 deaths reported in Burke
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2 COVID-19 deaths reported in Burke

New cases reported but hospitalizations down

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Two more Burke County residents have died due to COVID-19, and 33 new cases of the virus were reported over the weekend.

The Burke County Health Department reported the two deaths Monday, bringing the virus death toll to 274 people.

The two people were in their 70s and 80s and were hospitalized before dying from COVID-19-related complications, according to a release from the health department.

“To the families and friends of theses two individuals, we may not know the words to say that will make you feel better or ease your pain, but know you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Burke County Health Director Danny Scalise said in the release. “May you find comfort in the presence of those closest to you. To the members of our community, it is important for your personal health and the health of those around you to get the vaccine as soon as you are eligible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please stay at home when sick with any COVID-like symptoms and not visit family, friends, events, etc. to reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 and other infections.”

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, Austria shut its shops, restaurants and festive markets Monday, returning to lockdown in the most dramatic Covid-19 restriction seen in Western Europe for months. The decision has prompted a fierce backlash, with tens of thousands taking to the streets, some blaming the government for not doing more to avert the latest coronavirus wave crashing into Europe.

The health department also reported a total of 16,415 cases Monday, up from 16,382 total cases Friday, with a 3.86% positivity rate in the county. It said the new cases are evenly spread across the board and there are no significant spikes in a particular age group.

The department said Burke currently has 97 active cases of the virus.

UNC Health Blue Ridge said six people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of 10 a.m. Monday and no COVID-19 patients were in the intensive care unit. The health care system said there were 36 patients in its COVID-19 virtual hospital as of Monday.

The county health department said that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Burke County has now moved back into a high level of community transmission.

“We continue to encourage our community to use a face covering in areas of potentially high transmission and to stay home when you are not feeling well,” the health department said in its release on Monday. “Now that children 5-11 are eligible to receive their vaccine, looking at the percent of our total population who is fully vaccinated is more accurate. The percent of our county fully vaccinated currently remains at 44%.”

Statewide, 1,383 new cases were reported Monday with a daily percent positive rate of 6.3%. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also reported 1,055 people hospitalized Monday. The death toll in the state from COVID-19 is 18,630.

NCDHHS showed that 68% of the adult population in the state are fully vaccinated and 72% are partially vaccinated.

Local and state health officials are still urging people to get the free vaccine, which is open to everyone now from 5 years old and older.

The county health department is holding a vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23 and on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The clinics will not have the pediatric Pfizer doses, but will be able to administer first, second, third or booster doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Those interested in scheduling a vaccine can call 828-764-9150.

The health department also has teamed up with UNC Health Blue Ridge for a drive-thru Pfizer pediatric clinic from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. There will be two locations, Valdese Express Care at 730 Malcom Blvd., Rutherford College, and the Burke County Health Department at 700 E. Parker Road, Morganton. Both will be drive-thru only and will operate the same hours. Appointments are preferred but not required.

To schedule an appointment, visit

Those interested in a pediatric dose of Pfizer who are unable to attend the drive-thru clinics can schedule an appointment with the clinics that will be held in Murray Hall at St. Charles Catholic Church of Morganton for the next four weeks.

All three vaccinations are available at the clinics. Registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Currently, operating hours are from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, but after Thanksgiving the hours will change, the health department has said.

The week after Thanksgiving, the clinic will operate from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, 10, 17, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 11, 18. There will be Spanish, American Sign Language and Hmong interpretation available.

To register, visit

Every week the health department administers COVID-19 vaccines from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday. Those interested in a Moderna (first, second, third, or booster dose) vaccine, a Pfizer (first, second, third, or booster dose) vaccine, or a J&J single or booster dose vaccine can call the health department main office at 828-764-9150 to schedule an appointment or visit to select the closest location. To receive a booster dose, an individual will need to bring their vaccination card. For those who have lost or misplaced their card, the health department must be able to verify your vaccination status within the state’s system.

In addition, multiple pharmacies throughout Burke County offer the vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19, call the Burke County Public Information line at 828-764-9150 or visit the COVID-19 webpage at

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