Published on April 09, 2021

New local virus cases rising at slower rate

Vaccination Efforts Expand

Nash County Health Director Bill Hill had good news to report Thursday during a meeting of the Nash County COVID Response Team.

“I am glad to report that we are seeing somewhat better metrics,” Hill said. “We had 60 new cases of COVID reported in Nash County from Monday to Thursday. That is still 60 cases too many, but it is better than the 103 new cases we reported from Thursday to Monday.”

The cumulative total of COVID cases reported so far in Nash County is 10,375.

No new COVID-related deaths have been reported this week in Nash County. The total number of deaths remains at 175.

Hill also said the overall number of hospitalizations have dropped this week. As of Thursday, 22 patients were hospitalized at Nash UNC Health Care for COVID complications. But the number of seriously ill patients remains high with five patients in the ICU unit and two of those patients on ventilators.

“These numbers are better, but it is way too early to establish a trend,” Hill said.

According to data published by the state Department of Health and Human Services, 34 new cases of COVID have been reported since Monday in Edgecombe County, bringing the cumulative number of cases in that county to 5,145.

At last report, 111 Edgecombe County residents have died of COVID-19, Edgecombe County Health Director Karen Lachapelle said Monday.

Vaccination efforts in both counties are continuing. Hill said Thursday that the Nash County Health Department alone has administered roughly 1,400 second-dose shots this week.

Fewer first-dose shots are being administered, and local health officials are urging local residents to take advantage of increased supply and more open appointment times. At this time, vaccinations are open to all adults in North Carolina.

“I’d like to reach out especially to people in the 18-to-30 age group,” Hill said. “That group has been somewhat resistant, but I think they really need the vaccine.”

Nash County is slightly above average in the number of vaccinations given so far, according to data presented by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

So far, 31.2 percent of Nash County residents have been at least partially vaccinated. That number compares with 31.1 percent of the North Carolina population overall.

In Edgecombe County, that number is lower. Roughly 25.6 percent of Edgecombe County residents are at least partially vaccinated.

Nearly one-fifth of the Nash County population has been fully vaccinated. That percentage is 19.6 percent compared to 21.5 percent of North Carolinians overall.

Roughly 16.3 percent of Edgecombe residents have been fully vaccinated.

Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount is planning a large vaccination event on Saturday. The event is being held in cooperation with Nash UNC Health Care and other organizations.

“Senior Pastor James Gailliard of Word has worked diligently to bring a COVID vaccine event to the community to reach even more people. Because of the positive feedback, Word Tabernacle Church has partnered with the (state) Department of Health and Human Services, Nash UNC Health Systems, United Healthcare, Pfizer, Interfaith Food Center and Eastern NC Ministerial Alliance to offer 500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines,” Christy Arnold, director of health and wellness at Word Tabernacle Church, said in a press release.

The event will be an all-day event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and will offer appointments and first-come, first-served drive-through vaccinations, according to the press release. The vaccine administered will be the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

An additional Nash UNC Health Care team will be providing vaccines to homebound residents in Nash, Edgecombe, Halifax, Northampton and Wilson counties.

Homebound residents are defined as people who need the help of another person or medical equipment such as crutches, a walker or a wheelchair to leave their home. These are cases in which the person’s medical provider believes that their health or illness could worsen if they were to leave their home, the press release said.

Anyone can schedule an appointment by going to or visiting the church’s website at

Phone appointments can be made by calling 252-442-2925.