Gov. Cooper announces frontline essential workers eligible for vaccination beginning March 3

Group 4 vaccinations to begin March 24 for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk or who live in certain congregate settings

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning tomorrow, March 3. The expedited timeline follows the approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to North Carolina.

“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” said Gov. Cooper. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation. A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. While there is still not enough vaccine for everyone, the improved supply has contributed to providers reporting readiness to expand access to additional Group 3 essential workers. Under the timeline outlined today, providers may move to vaccinating these individuals on March 3. Sec. Cohen also unveiled a Public Service Announcement encouraging vaccine use among Group 3 essential workers. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)

State officials continue to encourage providers to exhaust each week’s vaccine shipment before the following week’s shipment arrives. Some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to frontline essential workers on March 3 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1, 2, and 3.

Gov. Cooper also outlined an expected timeline for beginning Group 4 vaccinations. Beginning on March 24, people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)

“This is a really exciting moment,” said Secretary Cohen. “A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and keep people out of the hospital and prevent deaths from this pandemic.”

NCDHHS also shared clarifications for Groups 1 and 4. The definition of long-term care in Group 1 has been updated for people with intellectual and developmental disability. Higher-risk medical conditions for Group 4 include intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.

Gov. Cooper will continue to advocate to increase vaccine supply in North Carolina. Since January 20, the amount of vaccine received by the state has increased by 135%.

This week, the federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) one-shot vaccine and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the state beginning on Wednesday.

On March 10, a federally-supported community vaccination center will open in Greensboro. This site – one of just 18 sites nationally – will help the state continue its effort to reach more marginalized and underserved communities. The federal government will provide the center’s vaccine supply, which will be in addition to North Carolina’s weekly allotment from the Centers for Disease Control. It will operate seven days a week with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day, with options for drive-thru service in the parking lot and walk-in service.

State officials continue to prioritize speed and equity in vaccine distribution as eligibility prioritization expands. On February 26, the Kaiser Family Foundation ranked North Carolina as first in the nation for vaccinating the largest share of its 65 and older population.

Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).

Watch the DHHS Group 3 Vaccine PSA Here.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone NOW

PENDER COUNTY – COVID-19 Vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for Tuesday, March 2, at the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St. in Burgaw. Appointments can also be made for Thursday, March 4, at the Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy. 17.

Citizens ages 65 and older and health care workers may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

There is limited vaccine available.

If citizens miss this opportunity to be vaccinated, continue to monitor the county’s website, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the local news for future vaccine appointments.

 

Gov. Roy Cooper announces easing of COVID-19 restrictions as North Carolina trends stabilize

Key indicators used to guide decisions throughout pandemic show state’s trends are moving in the right direction

RALEIGH: As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.

“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Governor Cooper. “We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”

“Keep wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands. We’ve seen in the past how fragile progress can be, so we need to keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.

30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
• Bars
• Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
• Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
• Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
• Movie Theatres
• Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
• Sports Arenas and Fields*
• Venues*

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit
• Restaurants
• Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
• Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
• Pools
• Museums and Aquariums
• Retailers
• Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
• Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.

Today marks the first day of eligibility for teachers to receive vaccination as the state begins to expand access to group 3 essential workers. Due to manufacturers’ shipping delays caused by inclement weather, DHHS continues to work with providers to administer both last week’s shipment and this week’s shipment this week and continue to exhaust first dose supply before next week’s shipment arrives.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is decreasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is decreasing.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is decreasing.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Testing
• Testing is widely available across the state.

Tracing Capability
• There have been more than 716,610 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.

Personal Protective Equipment
• North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order No. 195.

Read Frequently Asked Questions.

View the slides from today’s briefing.

Due to inclement weather nationwide, vaccine shipments have been delayed.  We are unable to schedule vaccination appointments at this time.

Please continue to monitor our website, pendercountync.gov, Facebook and news outlets for updates.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone for Thursday, Feb. 18 in Hampstead

PENDER COUNTY – COVID-19 Vaccination appointments are now being accepted for Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Pender County Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy. 17.

Citizens ages 65 and older and health care workers may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

There is limited vaccine available.

If citizens miss this opportunity to be vaccinated, continue to monitor the county’s website, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the local news for future vaccine appointments.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone for Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Burgaw

PENDER COUNTY – COVID-19 Vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St. in Burgaw.

Citizens may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

There is limited vaccine available.

If citizens miss this opportunity to be vaccinated, continue to monitor the county’s website, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the local news for future vaccine appointments.

Gov. Cooper outlines timeline on Group 3 COVID-19 vaccine prioritization

Educators, school personnel and child care workers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 24

North Carolina has administered more than 1 million first doses of vaccine

RALEIGH – Today Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. outlined a timeline for Group 3 frontline workers becoming eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, beginning with anyone working in child care or in PreK – 12 schools on February 24.

“I am grateful to all of our educators and school personnel for going above and beyond in this pandemic to care for children and help them continue to learn,” said Governor Cooper. “Starting with a smaller number of Group 3 frontline essential workers helps providers streamline vaccine distribution effectively and efficiently.”

Because vaccine supply continues to be limited and the Group 3 population of frontline essential workers is so large, the state needs to move to the next group gradually. Those working in child care and schools, such as teachers, bus and van drivers, custodial and maintenance staff, and food service workers, will be eligible first. This includes staff in child care centers and homes, Head Start Programs, Preschool and PreK programs, traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail.)

States must vaccinate people in groups due to limited supply. North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents and people 65 and older. In the coming weeks, providers will continue to vaccinate these groups. More than 40 percent of North Carolina’s residents 65 and older have been vaccinated.
Under the timeline outlined today, the state plans to move to additional frontline workers on March 10th.

“Vaccine supply limitations continue to impact how fast we can get all North Carolinians vaccinated,” said Secretary Cohen. “Keep doing the 3Ws. Wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. And be sure to visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov for accurate information.”

NCDHHS is working with partners to develop operational guidance to support child care and school staff in accessing vaccines. However, current prevention measures will not change. Schools can and should be providing in-person instruction. Under robust safety measures, all students can be in classrooms, with middle and high school students also following six-feet social distancing protocols.

As of today, North Carolina has administered more than 1 million first doses of vaccine and more than 1.5 million total doses.

North Carolina is expected to received more doses of vaccine over the coming weeks heading into March. This increase and certainty of advance knowledge into the supply chain several weeks out has allowed the state to plan to open vaccinations to group 3. As state officials receive more supply information, additional operational guidance will continue to be provided.

Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourShotYourSpot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).

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Currently, all COVID-19 vaccine appointments are booked. Monitor the county website (pendercountync.gov), Facebook, and local news for next appointments.

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