Once Craven County got past a supercluster of family, friends, and co-workers that originated in Lenoir County, it settled back into a relentlessly consistent rate of increase about five times greater than it was before the cluster emerged. (That’s the bad news.)
On the other hand, the number of recovered cases is outpacing the number of new cases, the number of hospitalizations has remained steady, and the number of deaths has decreased from four in April, to one each in May and June.
The last statistical update from New Bern Post was June 22, due to a staff shortage caused by day-job requirements. Between June 22 and July 1, there were 50 new cases reported in Craven County, an average of five cases per day.
At present rates, Craven County is about to overtake Lenoir County in the number of cases, but not in cases per capita, which Lenoir leads among the eight-county region in and around Craven County.
Because it has been awhile since the last New Bern Post update, here are some other data-graphics for your information:
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks. Cooper also announced that face coverings must be worn when people are in public places as officials seek to stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread.
Cooper and Cohen were joined by Dennis Taylor, President of the North Carolina Nurses Association and Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health.
“North Carolina is relying on the data and the science to lift restrictions responsibly, and right now our increasing numbers show we need to hit the pause button while we work to stabilize our trends,” said Governor Cooper. “We need to all work together so we can protect our families and neighbors, restore our economy, and get people back to work and our children back to school.”
“I know North Carolinians are strong, resilient and care deeply about our communities. We pride ourselves on helping our neighbors. The best way we can do that now is by taking the simple action of wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. If we each do our part, we can get back to the people and places we love,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary.
Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Until now, face coverings had been strongly recommended. Under today’s executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible.
In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.
“Wearing a face covering is an easy thing to do that can make a huge impact for all of us. A major spike in cases would be catastrophic to the system, and without your cooperation, nurses and our fellow healthcare providers will have a harder time caring for sick patients for weeks and months to come,” said Dennis Taylor, a nurse, and President of the North Carolina Nurses Association.
“As the leader of the state’s largest health system, I am pro-health and also 100 percent pro-business. In fact, the two are inextricably connected and I’m very proud of the way business leaders and health experts are working together to keep our economy strong,” said Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health. “Medical science says to reduce the spread of COVID-19 masking works, and my sincere hope is that all the people of North Carolina can join forces to make wearing a mask not something we feel we have to do – but something that we want to do to keep each other, our neighbors, our children and our loved ones healthy and safe”
Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the indicators moving in the wrong direction, causing officials to implement today’s pause in Phase 2.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases starting to level, but is still increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive remains elevated.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations are increasing, though we have capacity in our healthcare system.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
North Carolina is averaging more than 17,000 tests a day for the past week and there are more than 500 sites listed on online plus additional pop-up sites.
North Carolina labs and labs around the country are seeing supply shortages for laboratory chemicals needed to process tests.
There are over 1,500 full-time and part-time staff supporting contact tracing efforts at the local health department level, including the 309 Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative contact tracers. These new hires reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and 44% are bilingual.
Personal Protective Equipment
Our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.
Businesses can download templates for signs on face coverings here. Downloadable social media graphics are also available for use.
After a disturbingly high one-day total of 19 cases reported on Friday, another 13 laboratory-confirmed cases were confirmed in Craven County over a three-day period.
Craven County has 315 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 11:30 a.m. on June 22, 2020.
Of the 315 cases, eight have been related to out of state travel, 47 are from community transmission, 253 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case, and seven are unknown at this time.
Of the newest cases, two were confirmed on June 20, 2020, six on June 21, 2020, and four on June 22.
By ZIP Code and between June 7-22, 37 of the most recent cases have been in the 28562 area of New Bern, 19 in the 28560 area of New Bern, 17 in the 28586 area of Vanceboro, and 11 in the 28532 area of Havelock.
Out of the 315 confirmed positive cases, 192 of those individuals have recovered, are doing well, and are out of isolation. The recovered cases completed the necessary isolation requirement and have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours. There have been six deaths related to COVID-19. Five of the active COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized.
Craven County added 19 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 between Thursday and Friday afternoon, and one additional death.
The death, the sixth in Craven County due to the disease, was of a resident who died from complications related to COVID-19 on June 19, 2020. The individual had several underlying health conditions. The death was reported to the Craven County Health Department on June 19, 2020. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about the individual will be released.
The new cases bring Craven County’s total to 302 confirmed as of 4 p.m. on June 19, 2020 Friday.
Craven County has been seeing about seven new cases per day on average since May 8, at least partly coincidentally at the same time Phase 1 started relaxing rules to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the disease.
Of the newest cases, 12 of those are due to direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case.
Out of the 302 confirmed positive cases,Of the 302 cases, eight have been related to out of state travel, 46 are from community transmission, 244 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case, and four are unknown at this time.
In this county, 192 of those individuals who were sickened have recovered, are doing well, and are out of isolation. The recovered cases completed the necessary isolation requirement and have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours.
Five of the active COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized.
Total Confirmed Cases Craven County
In the eight-county Eastern North Carolina region in and around Craven County, 57 new cases were reported over the past day ending Friday, with Pitt and Craven commanding the largest increases, and the rest spread among most of the rest of the counties.
Craven County released a fresh batch of COVID-19 statistics today (June 19, 2020), and it provides no useful or meaningful information.
Craven County had a super cluster of family, friends, and co-workers between mid-April and early May, which added more than 150 lab-tested cases to the county’s total, which is 289 by the county’s count, or 292 by state count.
That cluster number is mixed in the overall total, but for privacy reasons, officials only report the total number for the cluster.
Meanwhile, the county statistics about age and gender don’t give you a clear picture because cluster numbers are mixed in.
All I can do is make assumptions, which I’ll do now.
I assume that because the percentage of cases 17 and under, and 25-49 are higher than the statewide averages, then the super cluster included a lot of children and non-elderly adults.
I assume that in general, younger people don’t get tested unless asked to do so by health authorities tracking down an outbreak.
I assume that among super cluster members, COVID-19 skipped young adults, because the percentage of total cases for that age group is the same as the state — 11 percent.
Therefore I assume that the cluster skewed the county numbers away from typical, and that Craven County’s population outside the cluster would more closely adhere to the statewide statistics, which for 0-17 is nine, and for 25-49 is 45.
And I conclude that the county’s percentages for older adults (27 percent for adults age 50 and over) are atypically lower than the state (34 percent statewide), which could lull older residents here into thinking they are safer than they really are.
If the county is going to release information about this pandemic, it would be helpful for that information to be useful and not misleading.
It could be because the county’s hands are tied by HIPAA laws that protect patient identity. The county even stopped issuing race and ethnicity data since the super cluster emerged). But there are other government agencies that are releasing more specific details about their COVID-19 cases so that residents who are in harm’s way can take greater precautions.
Having said that, here are the county stats:
Craven County COVID-19 Cases by Age, Gender, Death Rate, and Mode of Transmission
Percent of Total Cases
Percent of Total Cases
11.2 *data from 6-18-20
MODE OF TRANSMISSION
Percent of Total Cases
*Rates are calculated using population estimates from the US Census Bureau
The eight-county region in and around Craven County has seen an increase of three deaths and 246 lab-confirmed cases over the past week.
Craven County, meanwhile, has recovered from the spike in cases caused by a cluster that first started appearing in mid-May that added more than 150 cases. The cluster included family, friends, and co-workers and was apparently ignited at a food processing plant in Lenoir County.
That’s the good news. Not so good news is the fact that the pace of new cases in the county is accelerating at more than twice the pace than was experienced before the cluster.
On top of that, the pace appears to be increasing for community transmissions — cases for which the source is unknown.
That slight uptick, visible as the gold line on the graphic below, could be attributed to softening of restrictions under Phase 1 on May 8 and Phase 2 on May 22.
With new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continuing to rise statewide, North Carolina won’t move to Phase 3 on Friday, which had been the earliest projected start date to return the state to more normal operations.
As long as people continue to conduct their lives as if there was no pandemic, the numbers will continue to rise.
After a three-day relative lull in new COVID-19 cases, Craven County saw eight new laboratory-confirmed cases over the past 24 hours.
Craven County now has 249 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 11 a.m. on June 11, 2020, according to the Craven County Health Department.
Of the 249 cases, eight have been related to out of state travel, 34 are from community transmission, 204 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case, and three are unknown at this time.
Craven County is starting to see an increased number of “direct contact” cases related to “community transmission” cases reported since Phase 1 and Phase 2 relaxation of prevention measures were put in place.
Statewide, North Carolina has seen a surge in new cases, and some experts are saying it could be the “second wave” that worried epidemiologists but which was expected in the fall, not late spring.
Out of the 249 confirmed positive cases, 177 of those individuals have recovered, are doing well, and are out of isolation. The recovered cases completed the necessary isolation requirement and have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours.
There have been five deaths related to COVID-19. Seven of the active COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized.
In the eight-county region in and around Craven County, there have been 55 new, lab-confirmed cases as well as one death. The region, like the state, has been trending upward post Phase 1 and 2, with hospitalizations and deaths — key indicators of the pandemic that can’t be blamed on numerous testing — also rising.
Craven County averaged six new cases per day over the weekend, with all attributed to previously known positive cases of COVID-19.
In the 72 hours since the Craven County Health Department’s previous report, which was Friday, the number of new cases increased by 18, the number of active cases has increased from 73 to 90 cases, and the number of hospitalizations increased from three to five cases.
Meanwhile, the number of recovered cases increased by just one.
“All of the newest cases in today’s report are a direct contact to a previously confirmed positive case,” said Amber Tabarrini, a Craven County Health Department official. “About half of those cases are connected to the cluster that dramatically increased our numbers in the month of May. The other new cases are due to contact with some of the community spread cases that we have reported since the end of May.”
In the eight-county region in and around Craven County, there was an increase of 18 cases over the past 24 hours. One death was also reported in Lenoir County.
Absent any reports over the weekend from the Craven County Health Department, the Post relied on numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Numbers between the two agencies often differ from day to day, but generally keep pace with each other.
Armed with fresh numbers on Monday morning, the Craven County Health Department said Craven County has 239 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 11 a.m. on June 8, 2020.
Of the newest cases, nine were confirmed on June 6, 2020, one on June 7, 2020, and seven on June 8, 2020.
Of the 239 cases, eight have been related to out of state travel, 31 are from community transmission, 196 are a direct contact with a previously confirmed positive case, and four are unknown at this time. There have been five deaths related to COVID-19. Five of the active COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized.
Out of the 239 confirmed positive cases, 144 of those individuals have recovered, are doing well, and are out of isolation. The recovered cases completed the necessary isolation requirement and have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours.
Finally, Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference on Monday in which he pointed out the state’s COVID-19 cases are trending in the wrong direction, which could affect Phase 3 and could affect reopening public schools in the fall.
Urging continued vigilance, Cooper said, “I would rather open schools than bars.”
As one of New Bern Post’s less enlightened readers commented online today, “Unable to believe that roy cooper and randy foster with their combined medical expertise have not been invited along with NC DHHS director to consult with the CDC on covid solutions.”
How effective have preventive measures been for North Carolina? Here’s a chart arranged by number of cases and deaths (unsurprisingly, the same ranking) compared to where the state stands in population. North Carolina ranks 9th in population and 17th in cases and deaths.
Craven County, with 232 cases, is just one case behind Lenoir, with 233. During this pandemic, in the eight county region in and around Craven County, Pitt County has had the most cases, followed in order by Lenoir and Craven counties. That order could be about to change.
Craven County’s infection numbers are accelerating and confirmed COVID-19 cases here are about to overtake neighboring hotspot Lenoir County.
The region as a whole has seen a spike, jumping 97 cases in the past 48 hours. That rate is about five times higher than has become “normal” for the region since the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic started showing up in North Carolina in early March.
Just as sobering is the increasing number of cases in Craven County that have been contracted “in the wild” — community-spread cases for which the source is unknown but likely local.
That’s when you catch the virus from an infected person while, say, eating at a restaurant, hanging out at the country club, spending the day shopping — those things that have been happening since restrictions were relaxed under Phase 1 on May 8 and Phase 2 on May 22.
Add to that participating in protest marches and sharing megaphones.
And by the way, Phase 3 could kick in as early as June 19.
We got a glimpse of increased instances of community spread from reports out of the Craven County Health Department Thursday and Friday. But for the first time in a couple of months, the Health Department did not release reports over the weekend. Unclear why.
Once it does release its next report, we’ll get a better understanding of the nature of the increases that have been experienced in Craven and its surrounding counties. Hoping to get that data on Monday.
Going by numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Craven County had 232 confirmed cases when I checked about 1:30 p.m. Sunday. That’s 11 more than was reported around noon on Friday.
The Craven County Health Department’s report drills down more than the NCDHHS report, providing such details as whether a new case is community spread, from a known source, or from a source from outside the state (a number that has been stuck on 7 since nearly the beginning), active and recovered cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.
Once a week (Fridays), the Craven Health Department provides statistics about age, gender, mode of transmission, and death rate. It had been providing data about race and ethnicity, but stopped doing that when the county’s super cluster started to develop. Last I checked, the super cluster accounted for about 150 of Craven County’s 232 cases.
The NCDHHS report provides one thing that the county report does not: ZIP code data. In Craven County, the 28562 New Bern ZIP code accounts for the majority of cases in Craven County, with 149 lab-confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon.
Comparing day-to-day statistics, it appears most of the super cluster patients reside in the 28562 ZIP code, because it had the fastest-rising number as the cluster grew.
If you think COVID-19 is a thing of the past, think again.
Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN) announced that they have been identified as one of 75 communities to temporarily lose a portion of the air service related to schedule reductions by 15 airlines, resulting from the continued impact of COVID on the airline industry.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently changed the standard for airlines to request exemption for providing air service to all of the communities where they operated prior to the COVID crisis.
They are switching to a “systematic process” to allow carriers to “reduce the number of points they must serve as a proportion of their total service obligation.”
Their plan “will allow carriers to exempt from their service obligation five (5) percent of the points in their service obligation list, or five (5) points, whichever is greater.”
The DOT will grant exemptions to carriers, allowing airlines to suspend flight operations at defined airports while ensuring that the airport continues to be served by at least one carrier.
As a result of the DOT’s rule change, Delta Air Lines will plan to temporarily suspend air service operations to the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.
“Delta has not disclosed the exact timing for implementing this change, so passengers with current Delta bookings will need to check with the airline directly” said Andrew Shorter, the Airport Director at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.
“Our market fundamentals are sound and our airline partners have historically been pleased with their business models here at EWN but these are different times and air travel has been off by as much as 96% during this crisis,” Shorter stated.
American Airlines will continue to serve the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport with regular daily nonstop service to Charlotte International Airport (CLT) with one-stop flight connections to points around the United States and the world.
In an effort to gauge the demand signal moving forward, visit flyewn.com to fill out a brief travel survey so that the airport can demonstrate how the need for air service here at EWN will continue to be strong.