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As the number of total cumulative positive cases of the novel coronavirus approaches 1,600, Health Director Bruce Robistow said there remains a sustained elevated trend of the disease in Halifax County.

Today the health department added 40 new positive cases since its last report Friday.

The 40 new positives bring the cumulative total since testing began in March to 1,596.

There have been 31 deaths.

The breakdown of deaths is as follows: 17 within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code; four within the Scotland Neck area ZIP code; three within the Enfield area ZIP code; three within the Weldon area ZIP code; two within the Littleton area ZIP code; one within the Halifax area ZIP code; and one within the Hollister area ZIP code. 

Robistow said this afternoon Halifax County is still averaging around 12 new positive cases a day which is causing the sustained trend.

Asked about an announcement by Pfizer today that a vaccine it is developing with German company BioNTech shows a 90 percent effectiveness rate, the health director said while it appears promising he would defer detailed comment until it is evaluated by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and it makes a decision.

The Associated Press reported today Pfizer said early results from its coronavirus vaccine suggest the shots may be 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19.

That would put the company on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the FDA, the AP reported.

On Friday Robsitow said the upswing in positive cases should be taken as further incentive to practice the Three Ws — wearing a face covering, frequent handwashing and waiting 6-feet apart. 

He said leadership within the county has placed a focus on compliance with mask-wearing.

He said this afternoon complaints about mask non-compliance appear to be down.

Northampton County

The health department reported Friday there were 650 total positive cases of which 561 have recovered. There were 66 active cases as of Friday’s report. There have been 23 related deaths.