COVID Case Averages

COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever in Moore County, according to data shared Monday by the local health department.

“It seems to be that every day we have a new record number of COVID cases,” Matt Garner, interim director of the department, said during a presentation to the Moore County Board of Health. “That seems to be the trend nowadays.”

His agency recorded a daily average of 212 new infections for the seven days ending Monday, shattering the previous week’s all-time high of 142 cases. Garner said the county also saw a record 1,881 active infections, or cases involving people who have not yet recovered from COVID-19, on Monday.

The highly contagious Omicron variant is to blame for the county’s skyrocketing case numbers. First identified on Nov. 24 in South Africa, the strand currently accounts for about 95 percent of all new infections reported in the United States.

“The story with Omicron is its ease of transmissibility,” Garner said. “Throughout the pandemic, we have not seen quite this level of surge.”

Citing data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Garner said the number of people hospitalized across the state for COVID-19 has “nearly doubled” since the beginning of December. Jayne Lee, director of infection control for FirstHealth of the Carolinas and a member of the health board, said the influx of infected patients is threatening to overwhelm FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.

“Our hospital is at full capacity and our ER is overrun with patients,” Lee said. “We have patients right now from many surrounding counties and other states as well.”

Jaden Covington, 10, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Carolina Fried Chicken in Robbins on Jan. 8, 2022.

Jaden Covington, 10, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Carolina Fried Chicken in Robbins on Jan. 8, 2022.

COVID-19 patients made up a quarter of all hospitalizations reported across FirstHealth’s multi-county system on Monday, with 107 people being treated for the disease.

The Moore County Board of Education voted Monday evening to reinstate a district-wide policy requiring students and staff members to wear face coverings. Addressing the health board, Lee said she would like to see masks required in all public settings.

“We need to speak out on this and really put back in place some kind of mandatory masking,” Lee said. “I know that it’s a difficult thing to enforce, but I think that we have to speak up and do that or we’re going to be in a much worse state than we are now.”

She added: “I go to a lot of places where I’m the only one in there with a mask on, and it truly does frighten me. Masks aren’t perfect, but they do help a lot with (preventing) transmission.”

After discussing some of the challenges associated with a county-wide mask mandate, the board decided instead to issue a resolution urging residents to wear face coverings in public.

“What we’ve seen, and what the science and data has shown, is that (masks) go a long way in reducing the spread,” Garner said.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Tony Price was named chairman of the Moore County Board of Health. Price, who first joined the board as an at-large member in 2020, is CEO of the Moore Free and Charitable Clinic.

Tony Price, newly elected chairman of the Moore County Board of Health.

Tony Price, newly elected chairman of the Moore County Board of Health.

“We’ve got a huge pandemic in front of us and the positivity rates are increasing every day,” said Price, who succeeds Leo Santowasso as chairman. “If we can pull together as a team, I think we can get through this pandemic and keep our community informed and safe.”

A total of 17,240 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Moore County since the start of the pandemic. At least 266 of those infections, or about 1.5 percent, have been fatal.

Data from DHHS showed that 54 percent of the county’s population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday. If counting only residents aged 18 or older, about 65 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

The health department is holding vaccination clinics Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon at Sandhills Community College, and from 2 to 4 p.m. at Zion Grove AME Church in Eagle Springs. Vaccine doses and booster shots will be administered during both events with no appointment required.

Recommended for you

(2) comments

Comment deleted.
Barbara Misiaszek

Kent, we are an older community. Many of us have those pre-existing conditions you speak of. Are you prepared to say good by to your neighbors prematurely? Get vaccinated Kent. Even former President Trump is imploring you to get vaccinated. Listen to him if not anyone else.

Thank you Jaymie once again for your great reporting.

John Misiaszek

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to thepilot.com.

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days