CHARLOTTE – Heading into Labor Day Weekend, Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said she was most worried about the thousands of people coming to town for the Clemson-Georgia football game at Bank of America Stadium.
“We’re talking about people coming from out of town – not being familiar with our mask mandate,” Harris said Sept. 3, noting it’s not like a Carolina Panthers game where the county has a relationship.
Around this time last year, community transmission was low to moderate and children weren’t in school. Harris described the current outlook as a tipping point that could see COVID-19 trends up or down.
Deputy Health Director Raynard Washington said COVID-19 trends were stablizing after a period of rapid increases.
In the two weeks leading up to Sept. 3, Mecklenburg County was averaging about 536 cases per day with a percent positivity rate of 13.1%. He mentioned that hospitals have roughly 450 patients with COVID-19.
“We are continuing to see that the
majority of those folks who are in the hospital have not yet been vaccinated,” he said. “Many of those individuals are younger adults and much younger than they had been compared to earlier versions we’ve had him in the pandemic.”
Getting vaccinated, he said, helps to avoid severe complications from the virus.
Mecklenburg County had six deaths in June, 18 deaths in July and 65 deaths in August. Over the past month, adults 20 to 59 years old accounted for more than 40% of deaths, compared to less than 20% prior to that time.
Four of the deaths were between 20 to 39, with the youngest being 23. Some have had underlying health conditions, but the common risk factor was that they weren’t vaccinated.
Health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated.
About 57% of residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and 53% are fully vaccinated, according to Washington,
“We’ve got to make sure everybody in our community knows that the data is really overwhelming and vaccines are one of the most important things we can all do at this point to protect us ourselves and our family members and loved ones from the impacts of this virus,” Washington said.