Health officials in the east continue to urge masks and vaccinations as COVID cases rise

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise all around the country and Eastern North Carolina is no exception to that. The spike in cases is why health officials at both the federal and local level are once again encouraging people to wear their masks regardless of vaccination status.

On Monday CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said fully vaccinated people should once again start wearing their mask indoors in areas of the country where COVID-19 cases are rising.

“In areas with substantial and high transmission CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” said Dr. Walensky.

Local health officials at CarolinaEast Medical Center like Infection Prevention Manager Cathy Fischer are echoing that sentiment.

“Right now in our county our positivity rate is about 4.4%, 5% is the highest we want to get and we are really close to that number, we’ve been much higher than that number but we don’t want to go higher than this so mask wearing right now is very important even if you are vaccinated.”

Experts also continue to stress the need to get vaccinated for those who still haven’t gotten their shot. “I would strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. I heard someone from the CDC say a few weeks ago and it’s true that this has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated so we really encourage people to get vaccinated. Rght now we are seeing our numbers go up every single week”, explained Fischer.

The rise in COVID-19 cases is why CarolinaEast is once again offering vaccination clinics. Fischer said, “If we really step up the vaccination campaign and we wear our mask and we do the 3 W’s, it’s not time to slack off on that, now is the time to maintain the gains that we’ve obtained.”

There will be a clinic for CarolinaEast staff members and their families on Friday, July 30th, from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Another clinic for anyone 12 years old and up, is also set for just before the new school year starts. That clinic will be held on August 7th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Appointments are needed for these clinics and you can reserve your spot by calling (252) 633-8235 or by emailing

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