Health Director: COVID Hospitalizations Up Significantly

Dr. Marilyn Pearson. 2019 Photo

SMITHFIELD – Johnston County Public Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson said Monday the number of patients being hospitalized with COVID-19 is up significantly.  Dr. Pearson made the comments during her monthly update to the Johnston County Board of Commissioners.

As of Sunday, a total of 12,354 COVID cases had been reported in Johnston County since the pandemic began. Over 8,600 are presumed recovered. Also, as of Sunday there have been 117 COVID related deaths reported in Johnston County.

At last report, Dr. Pearson said 60 Johnston County residents are now hospitalized with COVID.  Of that number 50 are in hospitals in Smithfield and Clayton. Ten others are receiving treatment at hospitals outside Johnston County.  Of the 15 patients who were in hospital ICU beds in Johnston County on Sunday, 13 are COVID patients.

There are currently nine COVID outbreaks in the county, most being in long term care facilities.   Dr. Pearson said deaths have increased significantly over the past month. A number of those deaths are from the long term care facilities.   The positivity rate of those being tested for COVID has spiked to 15.9 percent, she stated.

Dr. Pearson said Johnston County healthcare workers are being vaccinated for COVID-19.  The county initially received 1,000 doses of the vaccine. An additional 300 doses were received last week. The county anticipated another 100 doses to arrive next week.  The county is still in Phase 1a vaccination.

The health department will announce when Phase 1b can began. Under Phase 1b adults 75 and older can receive the COVID vaccine.  There will be clinics established to distribute the vaccine under 1b. However, a timeline for when it will be available was not announced.

Dr. Pearson said the State determines how many COVID vaccination doses are distributed to each county.  The determination is based in part on the population and number of hospitalizations.