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County records 74 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Beaufort County reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which is its highest single-day case count ever — although Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson says many of those cases likely stemmed from lab reports that were delayed within the last week because of the holidays.

The county also reported three new COVID-19-related deaths. Two other deaths are under investigation. Fourteen Beaufort County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Beaufort County’s seven-day and 21-day average case counts are each just above 25. Both averages have continued to climb up ever since they briefly dipped below 10 cases per day in mid-November. County health officials know of 395 active cases of COVID-19 among Beaufort County residents.

As of Tuesday, 1,983 Beaufort County residents have recovered from COVID-19. The county’s total amount of positive cases is now 2,440.

“I think our increased number is, in part, because of the holiday season, and people are tending to get together,” Madson said. “More and more people that are testing are saying that they came in contact with somebody (who had COVID-19) during their Christmas festivities.

“So, I think with New Year’s Day, we should really consider not having big celebrations.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website includes a dashboard that displays COVID-19 vaccination data. That dashboard is updated every Tuesday. According to this week’s update, 224 Beaufort County residents have received their first of two vaccine doses.

North Carolina is in Phase 1A of its vaccination plan. Health care workers and long-term care facility staff members and residents are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

North Carolina reported 3,563 new cases of COVID-19 and nine COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday. A total of 63,571 North Carolina residents have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.