By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on January 12, 2021
On a day when Governor Roy Cooper described the spread of COVID-19 as putting North Carolina in a “dire situation,” much of the discussion at the Jan. 12 press briefing focused on the state’s COVID vaccination program. According to state data compiled through Jan. 11, there have been 190,195 North Carolinians who have received their first dose of COVID vaccine and 28,978 who have received their second dose.
With some parts of the state in the process of vaccinating senior citizens who are 75 and older, federal health authorities altered their guidance on Jan. 12 and now recommend expanding the list of people eligible for the vaccine to those 65 and older.
Asked by reporters if North Carolina would follow that guidance, Cooper said he was on a phone call earlier that day when the matter was discussed with Vice-President Mike Pence and other members of the Coronavirus Task Force. “One of the continuing problems we have had with the federal government is that they continue to shift their advice” about priority groups for the vaccines, he said, adding that the state will look at the new age 65 recommendation and make a decision about whether to incorporate it into its vaccination program.
Discussing recent metrics tracking the virus in the state, North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen noted that a single-day record number of cases (more than 11,000) was reported over the weekend; that at approximately 13%, the rate of positive COVID test results is well above the desired 5% mark; and that “our hospitals are stressed” with 84% of all staffed ICU beds in the state currently full.
“North Carolinians should stay at home,” she added. “You should only leave home for essential activities.”
During his opening remarks, Cooper referred to the role that misinformation and falsehoods had played in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol before noting that “lies and misinformation have cost lives in the pandemic as well.” He again stressed the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and getting the COVID vaccine, which, he stressed, is “safe and effective.”
“The truth is this disease is spreading fast,” he stated. “We are in a dire situation.”
The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services reported 21 cases of COVID-19 on Jan. 12, bringing the total number of cases reported here since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,094. Of those, 1,387 have been residents and 707 have been non-residents.
One piece of positive Jan. 12 news is the county’s report that 109 residents previously considered to have had active cases have now been categorized as recovered.
In an update provided by the Dare DHHS today, there were 1,412 COVID tests administered in Dare County between Jan. 4 and 10 and 266 of them turned up positive. The produces a very high positivity rate of 18.8%.
As far as vaccinations go in Dare County, DHHS Director Sheila Davies said on Jan. 12 that thus far, the county had administered 1,180 COVID vaccine doses, adding that the county is getting between 200 and 400 doses a week. In the update, the DHHS stated that it is “strongly advocating for the state to increase our weekly allotment of vaccine doses.”
The Hyde County Department of Health has announced that starting Wednesday, Jan. 13, it will begin vaccinating individuals against COVID-19 on the mainland — regardless of age — who are in the following groups:
Vaccines are arriving at the Ocracoke Health Center today. To call for an appointment, call 252-928-1511. If island residents want to travel to the mainland for their shot, they are welcome to do so.
In order to get your vaccine at the Health Department, you must call to pre-register and schedule your appointment. Please call 252-926-4399. We will continue to vaccinate people who are 75 years or older if you have not been vaccinated yet. For 24/7 on-call services, dial 1-866-462-3821, the Coronavirus Hotline.
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