Alexander County Government released the following Code Red message Sept. 9, 2021:
“We would like to share some regional hospital data and educational information about COVID-19.
“Of the three area hospitals that are reporting data, approximately 35 percent of all patients have COVID-19 and associated complications. Almost 25 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 at these three hospitals are on a ventilator. Two of the three hospitals reported that 87 percent of their COVID patients are unvaccinated.
“It is also important to note that sections of emergency departments are being utilized as hospital rooms to accommodate the overflow of patients; therefore, emergency visits for other health problems are experiencing longer wait times.
“In addition to a shortage of critical care and intensive care beds, the hospitals are also experiencing staff shortages which is causing even more difficulty in getting patients admitted for care.
“We would like to emphasize that the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, and at the very least, prevents severe symptoms or hospitalization for someone who is vaccinated but contracts COVID-19.
“Governor Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen held a press briefing today to give an update on the pandemic in our state. There have been 6,290 new cases since yesterday, with 3,815 people in the hospital with COVID-19. Getting more people vaccinated will reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths, and will help relieve some of the strain our hospitals are encountering.
“The Governor encourages those who are skeptical about the vaccine to “get off social media and get on the phone with your doctor.” Speak to your primary care physician about the vaccine and any concerns you may have. This is your best option to receive accurate information from someone who knows you and your health history.
“Dr. Cohen said this past week has been the fastest rise in cases since the start of the pandemic, with an average of 6,000 new cases per day. For the week of September 4, those ages 12-17 accounted for one-third of new cases, so it is important to get vaccinations for this younger population. For the past two weeks, she said there have been more than 900 COVID patients in the Intensive Care Unit, with one-third of those in the hospital under the age of 49.
“The county and state continues to encourage citizens to wear a mask indoors in public settings to help reduce the spread of the virus.
“The vaccine is completely free and no health insurance is required. You can schedule an appointment at the Alexander County Health Department by calling (828) 632-9704 or by visiting www.alexandercountync.gov/covid. Most local pharmacies are accepting walk-ins for vaccinations.”