CCHD COVID-19 Update #279 (February 18, 2021)

LENOIR, NC (February 18, 2021) — Here is the Caldwell County Health Department COVID-19 Update for Thursday, February 18, 2021.

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Caldwell County Health Department confirmed another COVID-19-related death and identified a cluster of cases in Caldwell County Schools.

Since schools reopened for in-person instruction in August 2020, the Caldwell County School System has adhered to all safety protocols and procedures in screening students and staff, sanitizing facilities, wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer and washing hands, and requiring six-foot distancing as recommended by the state and the CDC.

In addition, school district leadership checks in daily with local health officials to optimize policies and practices as COVID knowledge has developed. Each week the school district publicly posts the number of positive cases of staff and students, which shows a trend of lower transmission within the school setting. The first reported cluster occurred this week and involves students’ participation in the varsity football program at South Caldwell High School. A cluster is a minimum of five cases with illness onset or initial positive results within a 14-day period and a plausible epidemiolocal link. Any student identified as a close contact has been notified, and the varsity football team will remain on quarantine through the health department’s recommended timeframe.

“Protecting the health and safety of our students and staff is our number one goal,” said Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps. “We’ve had strong preventive measures in place this year, and we will continue to monitor and implement safety procedures and protocols as student opportunities expand beyond the academic instruction.”

The COVID-19-related death was a patient between the ages of 50 and 64, who was reported to have underlying health conditions, and had been hospitalized.

Twenty-six cases — 13 in the 28645 Zip code, six in 28630, six in 28638, and one in 28667 — were reported. One patient is under the age of 17; two are between 18 and 24; 10 are between 25 and 49; eight patients are between 50 and 64; three are between 65 and 74; and two are over the age 75.

Winter weather has delayed delivery of vaccine to the state. NC Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine providers to help minimize the potential effects of these delays.

Sign up for the Health Department’s vaccine waiting list at To learn more about being vaccinated by Caldwell UNC Health Care, visit or call 828-757-6487.

Daily Infections Projection
Updated February 12, 2021
By the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
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Caldwell County
First Doses Administered: 10,931

Second Doses Administered: 6,849
Percentage First Doses: 13.30%
Percentage Second Doses: 8.33%
As of February 18, 2021
(This data includes doses administered by the Caldwell County Health Department
and Caldwell UNC Health Care.)

COVID-19 Related Information and News

Total Flu Deaths in NC
(09-29-2019 to 05-16-2020) 186
(09-27-2020 to 05-08-2021) 5

CDC Guide to Masks

Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

7 Myths About Coronavirus Vaccines

Vaccination rollout plan
(DEEPER DIVE: Phase 1a. Health care workers
fighting COVID-19 & Long-Term Care)

The Caldwell County Health Department has started vaccinating people age 75 and older for COVID-19. While vaccinations are given by appointment only, they will add names to the waiting list. To sign up for the waiting list, visit People that are 75 and older can call (828) 426-8486 or (828) 426-8605. Please note, these phone lines are extremely busy. The Health Department staff will call to schedule the appointments. Vaccinations are being given inside at the Health Department.

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Dr. John Campbell
Provides daily COVID-19 updates