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The 37th death related to COVID-19 comes as the Halifax County Health Department today reported 41 new positive cases.

The latest death, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard, was reported from within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code and is the 20th to be reported from that area.

Health Director Bruce Robistow said, excluding the death reported today, 28 had comorbidities while eight are unknown as to underlying conditions.

Excluding the death reported today, 10 were in the 50 to 64 age range; seven were in the 65 to 74 age range; and 19 were ages 75 and older. There have been 22 deaths of women and 14 deaths of men.

The breakdown of related deaths in Halifax County is as follows: 20 within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code; five within the Enfield area ZIP code; four within the Scotland Neck area ZIP code; three within the Weldon area ZIP code; two within the Halifax area ZIP code; two within the Littleton area ZIP code; and one within the Hollister area ZIP code. 

The 41 new positive cases bring the cumulative total since March to 2,066.

The trend line graphic of positive cases since March 25 was not available today but the health department said the trend continues to increase in the county, state and country.

With 41 positives and an additional death reported today, Robistow said, “Our numbers support the prediction of a dramatic increase in the numbers of positive cases, deaths and hospitalizations.” 

He said the solution is simple. “If everybody wore their mask in public we would see a dramatic decline in all numbers within two weeks.”

Even with a vaccine becoming available in the near future, the health director said, “It will take several more months before we see any benefit from the vaccine because it will take months to vaccinate everyone.”

For the majority of vaccines to be effective, Robistow said, “You need to get two injections each approximately one month apart. Even then the vaccine will not have an immediate effect. Therefore the only way we’re going to slow the progress of this pandemic is for everyone to aggressively follow the Three W’s — handwashing, wearing a facial covering and waiting 6-feet apart.” 

Said Robistow: “It’s going to probably be next fall before we can start to take a sigh of relief here. How bad it gets between now and then is purely up to each one of us. The mask is our only scientifically proven effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Northampton County

The health department reported Wednesday there were 881 total positive cases of which 742 have recovered. There were 104 active cases. There have been 35 related deaths.