Unvaccinated adolescents make up 27% of Brunswick County’s COVID-19 cases in July so far
BOLIVIA, N.C. – After several weeks of declining COVID-19 case numbers, Brunswick County Health Services is now seeing case counts start to rise in July—particularly among those aged 17 and younger.
About 27% of all cases identified in July so far involve adolescents, with most exposures linked to summer camps or recent travel. In previous months, those aged under 17 made up about 11% of the county’s monthly cases on average.
Most of these July adolescent cases fell between the ages of 12 and 17. All were unvaccinated.
“A majority of these cases were preventable,” Health Services Director Cris Harrelson said. “Everyone aged 12 and up has been eligible for the Pfizer vaccine for at least a couple of months now. It is alarming to see more cases rising from our younger populations even though it is easy to get vaccinated.”
Because all these cases were unvaccinated, each adolescent and any unvaccinated family or household members living with them must quarantine at home for a full 14 days.
“If these cases had happened in August or September instead of summer break, it is likely these children would have missed two weeks of in-person instruction at school,” Harrelson said. “Now is the time to start to ensure your child is fully vaccinated when they head back to the classroom.”
The County started seeing an average of three to four new cases a day in early July. For the past few days, however, the average rose to about 10 to 12 per day. The percent of positive test results has also risen to about 5% this week—the highest in the Cape Fear Region.
Young people continue to make the majority of resident cases. Those aged 25-49 account for 35% of the total case count. Most exposures are associated with household contacts, work, or a history of recent travel.
Most of these cases are unvaccinated and disclosed that they do not wear masks in public places or around friends and family—despite CDC and NCDHHS guidance that those not fully vaccinated should continue to mask up.
Harrelson noted that comments and misconceptions that young people are at low risk of getting violently sick or dying from COVID-19 have contributed to lower vaccination rates and rising cases among these age groups.
He said that even if you feel at low risk because you are young, getting fully vaccinated can help curb asymptomatic spread if you are unknowingly get infected with COVID-19 and avoid lengthy quarantine periods that could keep you out of work or school.
“It’s our shared responsibility to protect our loved ones and community,” Harrelson said. “We strongly urge our community members aged 12 and up to get vaccinated and to wear a mask until they do.”
Currently, about 50% of Brunswick County residents are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with 53% partially vaccinated.
Only about 1% of those aged 12-17, 3% of those aged 18-24, and 15% of those aged 25-49 are at least partially vaccinated in Brunswick County.
Brunswick County Health Services continues to offer the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines to the public through appointments at the main vaccination clinic in Bolivia (25 Courthouse Drive, Building A, Bolivia, 28422). Book online or call the Public Health Call Line to schedule an appointment:
- Schedule online here
- Call the Public Health Call Line at 910.253.2339 (Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays)
The County is also offering pop-up vaccination clinics for first and second doses that do not require appointments. See the latest list of upcoming pop-up clinics at brunswickcountync.gov/vaccines
Currently, all community members aged 12 and older are eligible to receive vaccines, however those aged 12-17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and insurance is not required. Community members are asked to bring their ID and insurance cards to the clinic, if available.
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