Novant Official Not Expecting A Post-Memorial Day Spike In COVID-19 Cases
This time last year, public health experts were bracing for a surge of COVID-19 cases brought about by Memorial Day gatherings. A Novant Health epidemiologist says this year, he’s not expecting a spike.
Though COVID-19 vaccinations have slowed down significantly in North Carolina since earlier this spring, about half of the state’s adult population is now fully immunized. Dr. David Priest with Novant Health, says that should be enough to head off a major post-Memorial Day outbreak.
“Enough people are vaccinated now, particularly in older age groups. Hopefully that won't be a major issue," says Priest. "So rather than wide community spread, we'll probably see pockets in places where vaccination rates are lower or an age group for vaccinations are lower.”
And there are still many of those pockets. The state health department recently released data revealing the census tracts with the lowest vaccination rates. It shows that in 16 tracts across Guilford, Forsyth, and Watauga Counties, less than a quarter of the population is vaccinated.
Priest says the health system is now shifting vaccinations to doctor’s offices as a way to tackle hesitancy.
"Because patients, they trust the advice of their personal physicians who can very effectively address concerns or questions," says Priest. "That personal touch really makes a difference. And I've seen that in my own practice.”
Eighteen Novant primary care doctor's offices are now capable of providing the shot. Another 10-15 are set to be added to that list in the next two weeks.