Health Director Encourages Masking As COVID Cases Increase

Dr. Marilyn Pearson updates Johnston County Commissioners on COVID-19 data August 2, 2021.

Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson on Monday gave her monthly update to Johnston County Commissioners on the COVID response.  Dr. Pearson said Johnston County has seen more than 23,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, and a sharp increase in confirmed cases in the past two weeks.

Pearson said last week, 466 cases were added to the total, averaging about 67 new cases per day. On Friday, 24 patients were hospitalized.  There are currently two outbreaks and six clusters reported.  248 deaths have been reported to date.

The health director said 89 people previously infected with COVID had been reinfected a second time.  Additionally, there have been 98 break-through cases reported, where individuals have been vaccinated but are now COVID positive.  Pearson said break through cases have been reported for all three vaccines.

Dr. Pearson encouraged vaccinations for “everyone willing, able and ready.”     

Currently, 44 percent of the total population of 209,000 people in Johnston County have received at least one vaccination shot. 39% have been fully vaccinated.  For seniors 65 and older, the vaccination rate is 80 percent.

She told commissioners it was important to wear a facemask, particularly indoors, including those who have already been vaccinated.  She added the Delta variant is very contagious.

COVID testing is now taking place Monday through Saturday at the Progressive Men’s Club in Smithfield, including rapid testing. 

COVID vaccinations continue to be given at the Health Department and other locations across the county.