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Today’s COVID numbers released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are sobering. There were a record 8,551 new cases reported on Dec. 30. There are now 6,729 people who have succumbed to COVID, with the state reporting 156 more deaths since the previous day. And the percentage of positive tests out of all tests administered is a ballooning 14.8%.
But at the Dec. 30 press briefing, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (DHHS) Mandy Cohen focused primarily on the breakthrough that could ultimately bring the pandemic under control — vaccinations. And more specifically, they addressed the priority plan for who is slated to get vaccinated in what order.
Here is the list provided by DHHS:
Current Phase– Phase 1a: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents.
Hospitals and local health departments are vaccinating health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19 and those giving vaccines. In addition, the federal government is vaccinating long-term care residents and staff.
Phase 1b: Adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers. The next phase of vaccinations will be rolled out by various groups.
Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older regardless of medical condition or living situation. People do not have to have a chronic health condition.
Group 2: Health care and frontline essential workers who are 50 years of age or older.
Group 3: Frontline workers of any age and health care workers of any age, regardless of whether they work directly with COVID-19 patients. This phase is anticipated to begin in early January.
The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (firefighters, police), education (child care, teachers, support staff), manufacturing, corrections officers, public transit, grocery store, food and agriculture, and US postal workers.
Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness. In this phase, vaccinations will also open in groups.
Group 1: Anyone ages 65-74 years regardless of medical condition or living situation.
Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years with a medical condition that increases risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who has not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
Group 4: Essential workers as defined by the CDC who have not yet been vaccinated.
Phase 3: Students.
College, university and high school students 16 or older.
Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.
Phase 4: Finally, anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one.
In response to a battery of questions from the media about potential problems and challenges with the vaccination program, Cohen acknowledged that it is a complicated task that will have to ensure that priority lists are followed and prevent people from “jumping the line” to get the shots.
“We’re less than two weeks into this,” said Cohen. “It’s not a perfect process.”
Currently hospitalized – 3,339 (38 less than yesterday)
Suspected COVID-19 cases hospitalized in past 24 hours – 283 (up 69 since yesterday)
Confirmed COVID-19 case hospitalized in past 24 hours – 374 (up 13 since yesterday)
Adults in ICU with COVID-19 – 768 (up 7 since yesterday)
Patients presumed to be recovered – 403,488
Reported cases in Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties – 2,515 (Dare 1,560, Currituck 637, Hyde 318)
Completed tests – 6,835,632
Daily percent positive tests – 14.8%
Received first dose of vaccine – 63,571
Note: Every morning, the NC Department of Health and Human Services posts updates the number of reported cases of coronavirus. That number reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all hospital and commercial labs. There may be other reports, from the media and elsewhere, that will include different numbers during a given day, but this is an effective way of tracking numbers from the same source on a day-to-day basis.
SOURCE: NC DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES