The Moore County Health Department on Tuesday recorded its first new coronavirus-related death in nearly three weeks.

Matt Garner, public information officer for the department, said the deceased individual was a woman older than 75. She died on May 7, Garner said.

At least 190 residents have now died of complications from COVID-19, according to the health department. The latest death is the first fatal infection reported in the county since April 19.

About 2 percent of local infections have resulted in death. A total of 8,896 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Moore County since the start of the pandemic.

The positivity rate for coronavirus testing in the county stood at 6 percent on Thursday — lower than the 7.1-percent rate reported a week earlier, but higher than the statewide average of 4 percent. 

Vaccine Approved for Younger Teens

Older children are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in Moore County. 

On Wednesday, a committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized use of Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine on children aged 12 to 15. Garner said the health department can immediately begin administering shots to the younger residents, who account for about 5 percent of the county’s total population.

Teenagers as young as 16 have been eligible for vaccination since March with consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Garner said 162 high school-age students participated in vaccination clinics last month at North Moore, Pinecrest, Union Pines, STARS and The O’Neal School. The health department had planned to return to those campuses and visit area middle schools to vaccinate the newly eligible students, but the idea was rejected by the school system.

Instead, the children can receive shots by appointment on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the health department’s office in Carthage. In order to schedule an appointment, the child’s parent or guardian must call 910-947-SHOT.

Data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services showed that 36,449 local residents, or about 36 percent of the county’s population, were at least partially vaccinated as of Thursday morning. About 33 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.

CDC Updates Mask Guidance

Fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing face masks in most places, according to guidance issued Thursday by the CDC.

The agency is no longer advising immunized people to wear face coverings, even when indoors. Vaccinated people should still wear masks at hospitals, long-term care facilities and prisons, the CDC said.

While the announcement does not overrule the statewide mandate requiring North Carolinians to wear masks in public, Gov. Roy Cooper is likely to loosen the edict to include the new guidance. Cooper recently indicated that the order could be completely lifted by June if at least two-thirds of North Carolinians are vaccinated.

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