Lee County’s COVID-19 death toll jumped to 65 on Thursday, as local government reported six new deaths.

The announcement came the day after the county’s 59th COVID death.

“I am saddened to report an additional six COVID-19 deaths for Lee County today and ask you to keep the families and friends of the individuals in your thoughts and prayers as we offer our sincere condolences for their loss,” said Lee County Health Director Heath Cain. “COVID-19 remains a significant threat to public health. Today’s announcement marks twenty COVID-19 deaths reported in the county since the start of the new year. We continue working to vaccinate the public but the effort will take some time and depends upon the increased availability of vaccine that to date remains severely limited. The best defense to protect yourself and loved ones against this virus until you can be vaccinated remains following the three W’s – Wear a face mask when in public, Wait six feet or more away from others, and Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.”

Identifying information about patients is not released in accordance with federal health privacy laws.

The county is reporting new COVID cases on Mondays; as of the last update 4,884 residents had tested positive since tracking began in March of 2020. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID dashboard as of Thursday afternoon had that number at 4,989.

The Health Department is currently registering individuals for the COVID-19 vaccine in Group 1 and Group 2 of the NCDHHS vaccine rollout plan. This includes essential healthcare workers fighting COVID-19, long-term care facility staff and residents, and adults age 65 and older. The complete NCDHHS rollout plan may be found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines.

To register for the vaccine with the Lee County Health Department, the public may call 919-352-3360 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Due to high call volume, individuals may need to call multiple times to reach a staff member to initiate registration. Alternatively, the public may complete a pre-registration form available online at leecountync.gov/covid19. Individuals that submit a pre-registration form AND are eligible under Group 1 and 2 of the rollout plan may expect to receive a call from the Health Department within five to seven business days to complete the registration process and receive information about the next available vaccine clinic. Vaccine supply remains low across the state.  Individuals registering for the vaccine may have to wait up to several weeks to receive their first dose.