The Columbus County Health Department reported 40 more COVID-19 cases since Thursday with no new deaths.
The county saw seven additional cases on Thursday, 13 on Friday, two on Saturday, 15 on Sunday and three on Monday. The total is now 1,603 with 11 hospitalizations and 59 deaths.
Last week, the White House coronavirus task force determined that North Carolina was in the red zone for cases, which means 101 or more new cases per 100,000 of the population, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. North Carolina listed 23rd out of the 26 red zone states.
Approximately 1,276 residents have recovered, according to the Columbus County Health Department on Thursday.
NCDHHS designated the outbreak at Shoreland Health and Rehab of one staff member and one resident “over” on Friday.
No cases at schools
Neither the county schools nor city schools had any new positive cases to report by Monday morning, spokespeople from the two systems said. Columbus Charter School students remain on break through Wednesday, and Headmaster Steve Smith reported no changes in status Monday morning.
Thomas Academy students and teachers had “a smooth return” to campus Monday after two weeks of remote instruction, Principal George Ward said. Some students had been in contact with one infected adult at Boys and Girls Homes, but all tested negative for COVID-19.
Jennifer Noble, principal of Columbus Christian Academy, said that the private school had no cases to report Monday morning.
Rent and utility assistance
Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday a new assistance program for low- to moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic. The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program will provide $117 million in rent and utility assistance.
Renters can apply online at nc211.org/hope or call 2-1-1 Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Vaccine distribution plan
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services submitted a vaccine distribution plan to the Centers for Disease Control on Friday.
The state would prioritize those with high risk of exposure, morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, with the initial distribution covering 1.18 to 1.5 million residents, according to the 148-page document. Then, students and workers would receive the vaccine, with the final phase covering the rest of the population at 3.6 to 4 million.
It is unclear, however, when the Food and Drug Administration will approve a vaccine, with multiple in development and clinical trials.