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NC Coronavirus update September 3: UNC students to call for increased COVID-19 testing,

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

2:14 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 37,532 more COVID-19 vaccine doses statewide given since yesterday.

Wake County reported about 1,500 more first doses and 1,800 more second doses, meaning the pace of vaccinations is slowing in the capital county.

In Cumberland County, nearly 1,000 people rolled up their sleeves for a first dose.

Thursday’s COVID-like ilness surveillance report revealed the southeastern portion of the state is being hit hardest by the disease, with the highest percentage of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness. However, it’s those counties that are rolling up their sleeves most often for doses.

Duplin County had the highest percent increase in first doses in the state this week, followed by Robeson County.

Though Robeson County has the lowest percentage of its population fully vaccinated in the state, the county did top a 30% vaccination rate this week.

1:04 p.m.
The Orange County Government will be closed Monday in honor of Labor Day. This includes the COVID testing sites at the Whitted Building and Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill.

Regular services will resume Tuesday.

Noon
UNC Student Body President Lamar Richards called an emergency meeting of the Campus Presidents’ Council.

The group gathered Friday just before noon.

Richards said UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Campus Health Director Ken Pittman said they would attend the meeting. However, neither were there when the meeting began.

The meeting began with public speakers voicing their concerns.

The first speaker–who said he was a former UNC faculty member, a tuition paying parent and a physician–downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. He urged the student group to put the number of deaths into context, saying that the vast majority of them were people who were immunocompromised.

The rest of the speakers spoke about their frustrations with a lack of transparency from the university when it comes to cases, contact tracing, and university policies.

The meeting is scheduled to continue for an undetermined amount of time. ABC11 has a crew in the meeting and will report any updates and recommendations that come out of the meeting.

FRIDAY MORNING HEADLINES
An uptick in travel is expected this weekend ahead of Labor Day.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport is expecting around 120,000 passengers to fly through the airport over the next few days. Health and safety remains a top priority at the airport; remember masks are required at all times (except when eating or drinking) inside the airport.

Due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Two new studies show how the COVID-19 virus has changed and is now targeting children.

The CDC released new data showing that children are four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 in the states with the lowest vaccination rates.

Health officials call this the cocooning effect.

A second study found that unvaccinated children between the ages of 12 and 17 were ten times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 during the month of July.

At UNC today, students have called a press conference. The students said they plan to use the press conference to call on university leaders to increase COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements.

This comes after several outbreaks and clusters on campus.

The press conference is set for 11:30 a.m. You can watch it on ABC11.com.

New data from North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows unvaccinated people are 15 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated.

THURSDAY
5:30 p.m.
Previewing two studies that will publish Friday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said data from August shows that children were four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID in the states with the lowest vaccination rates as compared to states with the highest ones — proof that “cocooning” children with vaccinated people keeps them safe.

“We must come together to ensure that our children, indeed, our future, remain safe and healthy during this time,” Walensky said at Thursday’s White House briefing.

The study looked at national case and hospitalization rates in August.

“The rate of hospitalization for children was nearly four times higher in states with the lowest overall vaccination coverage when compared to states with high overall vaccination coverage,” Walensky said.

Another study, which looked at adolescents ages 12-17 (eligible to get the vaccine) across 14 states showed an upsetting but unsurprising finding: Unvaccinated adolescents were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID during the month of July.

“Both studies, one thing is clear: cases, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations, are much lower among children and communities with higher vaccination rates,” Walensky said.

Walensky also said the two studies further prove that delta is not more dangerous in children, it’s just more transmissible.

“Cases for children and adolescents 17 and under increased by nearly tenfold, which aligns with the increase seen for the general population. And although we are seeing more cases in children, and more overall cases, these studies demonstrated that there was not increased disease severity in children,” Walensky said.

“Instead, more children have COVID-19, because there is more disease in the community. What is clear from these data is community level vaccination coverage protects our children,” Walensky said.

4:50 p.m.
Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order in an effort to make it easier for North Carolinians to access treatment for COVID-19.
The Executive Order authorizes and directs State Health Director, Dr. Betsey Tilson, to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment.

Experts say, if taken early, the treatment can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

The Order will be in effect through November 30, 2021.

“Expanding access to monoclonal antibody therapy will help more patients across the state get this highly effective COVID-19 treatment,” said Governor Cooper. “In addition to getting more people vaccinated, we need to do all we can to save the lives of people who become infected.”

NCDHHS reports that while they have seen an increase in the number of providers who are administering monoclonal antibody treatment, there is still limited capacity to administer this medication among the state’s primary care providers and providers not associated with a health system.

Cooper’s office said a statewide standing order for monoclonal antibody treatment will make it easier for people with COVID-19 symptoms, particularly those with less access to a regular health care provider, to get this potentially life-saving treatment. Under…

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