Sat Oct 23, 2021
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Columbus adds more COVID-19 deaths [free read]

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Since Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported seven more COVID-19 related deaths in Columbus County. That brings the total death count to 199, with 14 in September alone.

The most recent deaths listed on NCDHHS’ dashboard are three on Sept. 6, one on Sept. 8, two on Sept. 11 and one on Sept. 12. 

In addition, the county saw 13 positive tests on Sept. 4, 12 on Sept. 5, zero on Sept. 6, 83 on Sept. 7, 36 on Sept. 8, 32 on Sept. 9, 17 on Sept. 10, zero on Sept. 11, 12 on Sept. 12, 49 on Sept. 13 and three on Sept. 14, according to NCDHHS, which says these numbers are subject to change. 

The total COVID-19 case count is now 9,384. 

Three nursing homes in Columbus County also saw increases in their latest outbreaks, according to the NCDHHS list updated on Tuesday afternoon. Shoreland added eight cases for a total of four staff and seven residents, Liberty Commons added two cases for a total of 10 staff and five residents, Tabor Commons added two cases for a total of six staff and one resident, and Premier Living added one case for a total of six staff and 10 residents. 

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Overall, 26 staff and 23 residents at Columbus County nursing homes have tested positive in the last several weeks, according to NCDHHS. 

In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported zero active cases and 137 recoveries at Columbus Correctional Institution, along with three active cases and 435 recoveries at Tabor Correctional Institution.

Approximately 42% — or 23,188 Columbus Countians — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to NCDHHS. Approximately 37% are fully vaccinated. 

On Friday, there will be a vaccine clinic that includes a $100 gift card for first vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer will be available. The clinic takes place 1–4 p.m. at the Columbus County Department of Aging, 527 Washington St., Whiteville. 

Schools

Experiencing a downward trend, Whiteville City Schools since Monday saw two COVID-19 cases and 16 quarantines, according to Superintendent Marc Whichard Thursday morning. These include two student quarantines at Whiteville Primary School, one positive student at Edgewood Elementary, one student quarantine at Central Middle School, 13 student quarantines at Whiteville High and one positive student at North Whiteville Academy.

“Our numbers are continuing to decline,” Whichard said. “I am very proud of the work being completed by our students, staff and community to help keep our schools safe and operational to maximize every opportunity for teaching and learning.”

Columbus County Schools recorded 15 new COVID-19 cases and 23 quarantines due to school exposure since Monday, according to a spreadsheet published after presstime Thursday afternoon. 

Evergreen Elementary had the highest case count with five; East Columbus Jr.-Sr. High had three; South Columbus High had two cases. Acme Delco Elementary, Hallsboro-Artesia Elementary, Old Dock Elementary, Tabor City Middle and West Columbus High had one case each. 

Evergreen had 11 quarantines, and East Columbus had 12. The other six campuses and central offices had no positive tests nor quarantines.

The numbers are an improvement over previous weeks. CCS Superintendent Deanne Meadows told the board of education Monday that during August the county schools had counted 179 positive cases of COVID-19 among students and 34 cases among staff; there were 165 students and seven staff quarantined. From Sept. 1–13, the school system had counted 100 positive cases among students and 17 among staff, plus 47 students and eight staff quarantined, she said. Online counts from CCS usually do not specify student and staff numbers.

Classical Charter School of Whiteville reported Tuesday that it had six active cases; these were cases diagnosed within 10 days and could have overlapped with the eight reported Sept. 7. 

Thomas Academy Principal George Ward III reported that the charter school’s cases and quarantines remained “zero so far” Thursday morning. 

Columbus Christian Academy had one new positive result since Monday, Principal Jennifer Nobles said Thursday morning. No school contacts of the patient had to be quarantined.

Includes reporting by Diana Matthews

Editor’s note: Based on incorrect information the Columbus County Health Department provided the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, The News Reporter incorrectly reported in the Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 editions that a staff member at Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehab Center had died due to COVID-19. Patti Nance of Columbus County Health Department stated on Friday that the department had reported the death to NCDHHS in error and that it was a resident, not a staff member, who had died.

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