Ad Spot

Vaccinations slow in Polk 

COVID-19 cases on the rise in county

POLK COUNTY—Polk County had its highest positivity rate in months last week of COVID-19 cases. 

Polk County Health and Human Service Director Josh Kennedy said the number of people coming in for a vaccine is down to a trickle and 66 percent of residents in the county remain unvaccinated. 

Kennedy said the slow pace of vaccinations comes as case numbers climb among the unvaccinated, who make up 99 percent of new cases. 

Polk County has also gone for months with 68 people total being hospitalized from the virus, but last week added another 4, at 72 total. The county remains at 31 deaths total from the virus. 

Last week’s numbers added another 10 cases, at 1,548 from 1,538 the previous week. The percent positive was 4.8 percent after having several weeks lately of 0 percent positive. 

“Last week, we hit a 4.8 percent positivity rate,” Kennedy said. “Which is the highest positivity rate probably in the past month to 2 months.”

Kennedy said the county health department is seeing about 10-15 people a week coming in for a shot and it’s people in their 20s and 30s who are largely the group in the county choosing not to get vaccinated. 

The Delta variant of the virus is the most dominant strain now and is more contagious, Kennedy said.  

Kennedy encourages people to think about their families and friends, as being vaccinated is great for the individual, but also good for the people around them. 

People can make an appointment to get vaccinated but the next walk-in clinic will be at First Baptist Church of Tryon on Sunday, Aug. 8 from noon-2 p.m. 

The Centers for Disease Control is predicting that virus hospitalizations will increase over the next 4 weeks and the odds for those choosing not to get vaccinated are exponentially higher when it comes to contracting the virus, according to Kennedy. 

“This is a totally preventable disease,” Kennedy says. 

Because the county’s numbers are up, some county meetings are being held via Zoom. 

Polk County has completed 22,021 tests since last March, with 1,548 total positives, 72 hospitalizations and 31 deaths. The percent of people fully vaccinated is 44 percent, up from 38 percent the week prior. 

Positive cases continue to be more prevalent in women in Polk County at 55.13 percent as of last Friday, compared to 44.87 percent in men. 

On vaccinations, Polk County has given 9,691 people one dose and fully vaccinated 9,141. 

Not all of the vaccines administered in the county are Polk County residents. 

Vaccines are free for anyone and are now being administered to everyone age 12 and older in North Carolina. 

Most cases have continued to be in people age 25-49, followed by people age 50-64; people age 75 and above; people age 65-74; people age 0-17 and people age 18-24, according to the latest report. 

To schedule an appointment with the county people can call the Polk County COVID message line at 828-722-5086. More information is also available on a special COVID-19 tab located at polknc.org. 

Local pharmacies are also now giving vaccines.