Online Originals: Onslow County sees an increase in COVID-19 cases, here how it’s affecting the county

Coronavirus

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow Memorial Hospital reports they have seen a 525% increase in COVID-19 positive inpatients since this time last month. They also say these are the highest numbers they have seen since February. 

“We’ve been in contact actually with the hospitals and our area with both Onslow Memorial and with Naval Medical Center every day this week and monitoring the situation,” said Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell. 

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Officials from Onslow Memorial say the Delta variant is a more contagious form of COVID-19. They also said the relaxing of social distancing and mask guidelines have contributed to this drastic increase… 

“So we had about five patients in the beginning of July, and we currently have 25 patients in the hospital, which is 500% increase in the number of COVID positive patients in the hospital,” said Chief Medical Officer for Onslow Memorial Hospital Dr. Steven Spencer. 

Onslow County reported 19,000 positives cases overall as of Friday morning. there were 70 new cases reported just this week.  

“When we see these trends, it’s important for us to get that information out to the public. We want the public to have all of the information they possibly can about those things that may cause a threat for them, so they can take appropriate action,” said Russell. 

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They say this increase has led to stress on medical services for the county.  

9OYS first reported earlier this week about Onslow County’s plea for help with the shortage of EMS workers. Now, help has arrived from Stanly County. 

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“We’re very appreciative to the two young men that Stanly County sent out to help us and with an ambulance to, you know, basically help us with our response times and provide medical care to our citizens,” said the Director of Emergency Services for Onslow County Norman Bryson. 

Max Bolgrin is one of those paramedics from Stanly County and says he is happy to help support Onslow County in this time of need. 

“You know, we’re all here for each other and to support each other as a community. So whether we’re serving here in Onslow County or out in Stanly County, we’re just here to help and make sure everybody is safe and get through this together,” said Bolgrin. 

Russell said she is grateful for the help that has arrived. Going forward, she asks the public to continue to watch out for their own health and those around them. 

“Let’s save lives and limit the number of hospitalizations we’re seeing in our area,” said Russell. 

She also adds the Board of Commissioners will continue to talk about whether future mask mandates will be needed but a decision has not been made yet. 

“Our goal right now is to get the subset of information in the hands of the adults in our community and ask them to use their discretion and to really watch out for their own health and those around them,” said Russell. 

Spencer adds the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to get the vaccine. 

“It’s really our best weapon against mitigating the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Spencer.  

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