The McDowell County Health Department reported Friday that 44 additional McDowell County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and two more people had died since Monday.
That news came shortly before COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. received unanimous backing for use in all U.S. adults from public health advisers, clearing the way for millions to gain additional protection before the threat of a winter surge, according to the Tribune News Service.
All 11 advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted in favor of third doses for people 18 and older just hours after they were cleared Friday by U.S. regulators.
The committee also voted to recommend that people who are 50 and older should receive the boosters. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still must sign off on the recommendation from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices before vaccinations begin.
Booster shots of messenger RNA vaccines have been available for people 65 and over along with others at higher risk of severe disease since mid-September. Under Food and Drug Administration guidelines, any of the three authorized shots — including one from Johnson & Johnson — can be used as a booster, regardless of which vaccine a person received initially.
Friday’s local report brought the total number of known positives to 8,846 in McDowell County. There have been 68,131 tests conducted, 59,252 negative results and 33 tests are pending results. At the time of Friday’s report, there were 85 individuals in quarantine, 8,617 out of quarantine and 144 deaths. McDowell County’s 14-day positivity rate is 4.1%, according to a news release.
Foothills Health District press releases have transitioned to twice weekly, Mondays and Fridays. McDowell County’s COVID-19 data dashboard continues to be updated each day (Monday-Friday) and can be found by searching for McDowell County Emergency Services.
COVID-19 testing information:
Andor Labs is offering free, drive-thru, COVID-19 testing Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lady Marian Plaza at 1155 N. Main St. in Marion.
Other COVID-19 testing locations include primary care physician offices, local urgent care clinics, The Prescription Pad of Marion and CVS pharmacy.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
The COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center (828-803-4552) is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, seven days a week. Please call the hotline if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment to get your vaccine. Vaccine appointments can also be booked online by visiting https://takemyshot.nc.gov/. Homebound citizens who want the vaccine but are unable to reach a vaccination site are encouraged to contact the Vaccine Call Center (828-803-4552) to have the vaccine delivered and administered at their home.
Public health COVID-19 vaccination information:
The next Health Department drive-thru vaccine clinic will be held Dec. 3 from noon to 2 p.m. This clinic is for anyone age 5 and up and will be for first, second, third doses (immunocompromised) and booster vaccinations. Appointments are not necessary but are preferred and can be made by calling the Vaccine Call Center at 828-803-4552.
Other McDowell County COVID-19 vaccination locations:
UNC Health Physician Practices
The Prescription Pad of Marion-provides walk-in vaccinations with no appointment needed for ages 5 and up
McDowell Family Pharmacy in Old Fort
McDowell County vaccine doses administered:
First doses: 24,051 (60% of eligible residents)
Second doses: 22,424 (56% of eligible residents)