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The East Wilkes junior varsity and varsity football teams are the latest Wilkes County prep sports squads with game postponements due to positive COVID-19 tests.

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The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club issued a press release Monday evening stating “with deep regret” that the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival has been canceled for the second year in a row to avoid health risks posed by COVID-19.

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Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Cone Health and Novant Health hospitals in the region report a surge in recent weeks of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, very similar to a surge earlier this year before vaccines became widely available

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Younger Wilkes residents are accounting for a larger share of the county’s active COVID-19 cases, said Wilkes County Health Director Rachel Willard.

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A broad array of COVID-19-related precautions will be used at MerleFest 2021, which is about one week away (Sept. 16-19) at Wilkes Community College.

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Orders declaring states of emergency in Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro and requiring wearing masks or other face coverings inside most establishments open to the public in the two towns are in effect as of 5 p.m. Sept. 1.

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In a 3-2 vote during an emergency meeting Monday night, the Wilkes Board of Education made masks mandatory for students, staff and visitors in the Wilkes County Schools.

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The West Wilkes varsity football teams are the latest Wilkes County prep sports squads placed on COVID-19 quarantine protocol after several positive cases forced the cancelation of Friday's football game against Elkin in Millers Creek.

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Dr. Chi Huang of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist said he wants people to understand the worsening threat posed by COVID-19, especially in counties like Wilkes with low vaccination rates, inconsistent masking and rapidly rising hospital admissions of patients with the virus.

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused a larger percentage increase in homeschooling statewide than in Wilkes County, according to data from the N.C. Department of Public Administration.

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A rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Wilkes County is continuing, with 195 new cases confirmed here from Friday to Monday.

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Masks will be optional for students and staff in the Wilkes schools in the upcoming academic year as long as the county threshold of positive cases for students stays below recommended levels, announced Superintendent Mark Bryd in the school board meeting Monday night.

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The Wilkes County Health Department reported that as of Monday, 6,942 Wilkes County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The total was 6,949 by Wednesday.

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Visitation policies at Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wilkes Medical Center and all other Wake Baptist locations have been updated, effective June 9.

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The Wilkes County Health Department has announced a schedule of Pfizer vaccination clinics at public high schools as part of an effort to get more young people vaccinated before the 2021-22 school year starts.

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The Wilkes County Health Department is continuing an emphasis on vaccinating people for COVID-19 at churches, parks, events and other sites as part of a strategy of making it more convenient, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

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Tyson Foods Inc. said one of its first seven “Bright Blue” health centers, designed to provide Tyson employees and their families easier access to quality healthcare, opens May 19 at 1600 River Street in Wilkesboro.

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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported that 21.7% (14,857 people) of Wilkes residents were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Monday.

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Wilkes Health Department Director Rachel Willard said Friday that Wilkes County’s response to COVID-19 vaccinations remains at best at a plateau, prompting consideration of ending her department’s drive-through vaccination clinics.

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Wilkes County Health Director Rachel Willard said COVID-19 vaccinations in Wilkes have leveled off, despite the local health department’s decision to make them available to everyone age 16 and older about two weeks ago.

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COVID-19 vaccine will be available this week to all child care center and pre-K to 12th-grade personnel in Wilkes County who indicated they want it, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

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A Wilkes Health Department COVID-19 first dose vaccination clinic that was moved from Thursday to Saturday due to expected inclement weather is canceled due to weather-related vaccine shipment delays statewide and nationwide, announced the health department Wednesday morning.

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The Wilkes County Health Department has received extra manpower for its COVID-19 vaccine program after being flooded by people wanting vaccination appointments and apparently will get more.

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The first meeting of a Wilkes County COVID-19 task force authorized by the Wilkes County commissioners and held Friday focused largely on how to encourage wearing facial masks and support the COVID-19 vaccination process locally.

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The Wilkes County Health Department expects to have enough Moderna vaccine for administering over 1,100 first or second doses late this week, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

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After about 300 people with appointments are vaccinated as planned in a drive-through COVID-19 clinic Thursday, the Wilkes County Health Department will have given nearly 3,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine.

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The Wilkes County Health Department received an additional 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from Wilkes Medical Center today (Thursday) and is making them available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis today and Friday, announced Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard late this morning.

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First doses of the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 will be available by appointment in a Wilkes Health Department drive-through clinic Thursday starting at 10 a.m. at Lowe's Park at River’s Edge, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard.

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Wilkes County School Superintendent Mark Byrd said providing the best instruction possible for academic growth and maintaining the well-being of students and staff will remain the primary focus in the second half of the 2020-21 academic year.

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UPDATE: The Wilkes Health Department is getting 800 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week instead of the 200 originally announced due to Wake Forest Baptist Health deciding to let the health department have 600 doses that Wilkes Medical Center received Wednesday, said Wilkes Health Director…

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The Wilkes County Schools have had 442 confirmed COVID-19 cases since Sept. 8, when all Wilkes elementary, middle and high schools transitioned from full-time remote learning to optional half-time remote and half-time in-person learning (A/B plan).

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The Wilkes County Health Department’s COVID-19 drive-through vaccination clinics will be moved from the department’s rear parking lot on College Street, Wilkesboro, to Industrial Drive (old airport runway) at Lowe’s Park at River’s Edge next week, said Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard o…

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After averaging around 40 people each day Dec. 28-30, a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Wilkes Health Department’s rear parking lot off College Street in Wilkesboro drew about 300 people Dec. 31.

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Wilkes County’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine is expected next week, but local and state officials still don’t know how much is coming.

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About 40% of North Carolina residents responding to an Elon University Poll said they’ll take a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA, nearly an equal number said “it depends” and the other 20% said they’ll decline.