WEDNESDAY MORNING STORYLINES
North Carolina will receive its first federal shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday. The 120,000 doses of the vaccine the state receives each week will be less than what’s been made available so far from the state’s supply.
Gov. Roy Cooper will speak Wednesday afternoon along with the state’s COVID-19 task force. Cooper is expected to answer questions about the state’s vaccine supply. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen has said the state is finished giving out its backlog of shots.
Gov. Cooper is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. The briefing will be carried live on ABC11 and abc11.com and on the free ABC11 North Carolina Streaming App.
A driver-thru vaccination clinic at Galot Motorsports Parks on NC 242 in Dunn will begin at 10 a.m. today and continue as long as supplies last. The clinic is for healthcare workers and adults 65 and older. You don’t have to register, but you will need to bring a form of ID.
What happens to unused COVID-19 vaccines at the end of the day? ABC11’s Josh Chapin spoke to a UNC doctor who said once vials are opened, they have a shortened shelf live. When there’s 30 minutes left in the day, UNC pulls from a priority list containing local workers in the area to get the shots.
The number of hospitalizations in North Carolina increased slightly on Tuesday after a couple days of decreases.
3,368 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, NCDHHS reported. That’s 72 more people than Monday.
303 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted in the last 24 hours.
3,987 new cases were reported on Tuesday. That number was the lowest we’ve seen this month, however, test reporting was also low.
21,846 tests were completed. Normally that number is above 50,000.
The percent positive in the state is at 13.3 percent.
The Biden administration is giving states an approximately 17% boost in vaccine next week following complaints around the U.S. of shortages so severe that some vaccination sites had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people waiting for their first shot.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM BIDEN:
Detailed figures posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Tuesday showed that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The increase comes as vaccination sites around the U.S. are canceling large numbers of appointments because of vaccine shortages. Governors and top health officials have complained about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much is on the way so that they can plan accordingly.
North Carolina healthcare providers have administered 95% of all available first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen saying she’s confident the remaining 5% will be given out just in time for the next shipment from the federal government Wednesday.
Cohen said 630,000 people have received first doses (another 180,000 have received both first and second doses). In the past week, health officials have used 260,000 doses — a major increase when compared to the first weeks of vaccine doses arriving in the state.
Cohen said now that the state has largely exhausted its backlog of first doses, NCDHHS is outlining a process for allocations that will provide more transparency and certainty to providers.
Cohen said that when the state first started receiving vaccine, it allocated doses to counties based on population, but to clear the state’s backlog and demonstrate to the federal government that North Carolina is capable of taking on more vaccine, NCDHHS moved to a “posture of speed,” asking certain providers to ramp up vaccinations at the expense of predictable allocations.
Cohen said this, along with the state committing to multiple large scale vaccination events, left some providers without any doses to administer.
“This week is going to feel particularly tight with many providers getting small, or no allocations,” Cohen said.
But moving forward, Cohen said providers will get a baseline amount of doses they can expect for the next three weeks.
Each week, North Carolina gets 120,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government.
Cohen said the state’s plan includes distributing 84,000 of those doses to counties based on population, which will then be divided among local providers based on their capacity to push them out quickly.
The remaining 36,000 doses will be used to balance vaccine distribution to counties and areas that need it most.
“We’re also asking providers to prioritize equity,” Cohen said. “The percentage of vaccines administered to historically marginalized communities should meet or exceed the population estimates of their communities in their county and region.”
Cohen said the state is helping counties achieve equitability by supporting providers with data entry, event planning, coordination amongst community players and registration assistance.
“Demand for vaccines far exceeds our supply,” Cohen reminded.
She said the state will continue to work to distribute vaccine as quickly as possible and to be transparent about where the vaccines are going and how they’re being used.
The state has launched a new website to help everybody learn when they will be eligible to get a vaccine. Click here for that website.
NCDHHS also released the day’s COVID-19 metrics. The data showed another decrease in hospitalizations but an increase in the daily percent positive. To take a look at the numbers for yourself, click here.
Durham County has confirmed its leaders are working on a mass vaccination site with plans to open in early February.
“We are still working out the details such as hours of operation, appointment scheduling, and other logistical considerations, but it is our goal to open to the public in the early weeks of February,” said Durham County Health Director Rodney Jenkins.
Officials now believe the site could vaccinate approximately 17,000 individuals per week in an update from an earlier projection. Vaccinations are currently ongoing at Southern Durham High School. You can call 919-560-HELP to schedule a vaccination.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry will speak to the media Tuesday afternoon at 1.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is holding a virtual job fair on Tuesday to help those struggling with unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fair will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Job seekers will be able to speak with recruiters and hold one-on-one virtual interviews.
A new Brazilian variant of the coronavirus has made its first known appearance in the United States, in a person who had recently returned to Minnesota after traveling to that country, state health officials announced Monday.
The virus known as the Brazil P.1 variant was found in a specimen from a patient who lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and became ill the first week of January, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement. Epidemiologists were re-interviewing the person to obtain more details about the person’s illness, travel and contacts.
There was no immediate indication that the variant was spreading in the state.
Viruses are constantly mutating, and new versions – called variants – often emerge. Health officials are also worried about variants that were first reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Researchers believe they may spread more easily than the virus that’s already caused nearly 420,000 deaths in the United States.
Duke University’s COVID-19 testing continued last week, netting 82 positive results after testing 27,865 students and 2.716 faculty and staff.
There were 62 positive results among students, who recently started classes for the spring semester. Students are required to be tested before starting classes and on-campus activities. The total positivity rate is 0.27 percent.
More data about Duke’s testing can be found here.
The Moderna company is reporting its supplied 30.4 million doses of its brand of the COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government so far
In a release, Moderna said its trajectory of 100 million doses by the end of March is on target as well as its track to deliver 200 million doses to the government by the end of June. Around 10.1 million doses have been administered so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
TUESDAY MORNING STORYLINES
A newly-conceived mass vaccination site in Durham will be able to vaccinate as many as 45,000 people per week.
“We are delighted to report the state of North Carolina and Fidelity have reached an agreement as far as hosting a mass vaccination site,” Durham County Health Director Rodney Jenkins said at a county commissioners’ meeting on Monday night. Dr. Mandy Cohen requested the site be placed in Durham.
Jenkins told the county that he’ll work with the state and Durham Public Schools to scout out possible locations for the site. More details on the site are forthcoming.
The North Carolina Healthcare Association is calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to do more when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine in the state. The group wants more regular vaccine allocations to deal with the surge in demand. They feel the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services gave providers little to no advance notice when they decided to move forward with vaccinating adults 65 and older.
“At the end of the day, we’re taking directives, which in many cases is last minute, and we’re doing the best we can with it,” said Steve Lawler with the NCHA.
NCDHHS is giving an update on its effort Tuesday and asking providers to “aggressively provide opportunities” for vaccinations. NCDHHS said as of Sunday night, providers have administered 88% of all available doses. Meanwhile, suppliers are struggling with getting enough doses from the state.
The Governor said the state’s top priority is getting vaccines out quickly and equitably. Federal officials are being urged to make more vaccines available. There’s a drive-thru clinic at the Crown Expo Center today in Fayetteville, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A food drive is happening Tuesday in Raleigh at PNC Arena to help families put food on the table. The North Carolina Community Action Association is holding the event, which starts at 10 a.m. A box with food, drinks and home goods will be given away while supplies last.
Cape Fear Valley Health clinics will no longer be able to accommodate walk-in vaccines for first-dose vaccinations at any of its four clinics. Appointments can still be made online.
Vice President Kamala Harris will receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday. Harris will get the shot at the National Institutes of Health.
Duke University has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases at Berkshire Ninth Street apartment complex.
A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more related cases that are deemed to be in close proximity of time and location, such as a residential hall or apartment complex.
Duke said the five students in this cluster have been identified and are now isolating in a separate location.
As of Monday, Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point (NHCCP) began vaccinating authorized TRICARE beneficiaries aged 75 years and older.
Beneficiaries aged 75 years and older should call the NHCCP Appointment Line at (252) 466-0921 (Option 3). The clinic will coordinate appointment times with command officials of active duty and frontline personnel who are eligible according the phase definition.
The Naval Clinic is NOT accepting patients for walk-in vaccinations at this time.
For the third week in a row, the Orange County Health Department has not received any first dose allotment of COVID-19 vaccines from the NCDHHS. The lack of first dose allotment will not affect or delay the second vaccines for community members who have already received their first shot, the health department said. Anyone who has received their first vaccine from the Orange County Health Department will be contacted to make an appointment for their second dose by phone or email.
“As of January 24, 2021, all first doses of vaccine have been exhausted and it is not clear when we will be receiving more vaccine from the state.” said Orange County Health Director, Quintana Stewart. “Until the vaccine supply is significantly increased it will be weeks or perhaps months until we can complete vaccinations for Phases One and Two. We understand this must be frustrating for our community members to hear and we want let you know that we share in your frustration.”
The Health Department is scheduling health care workers, long-term care residents and staff and older adults ages 65 and older for appointments (Phase One and Two). There are 1.6 million people older than 65 in North Carolina. In Orange County there are approximately 22,000 people who are 65 years of age or older.
In response to a letter the North Carolina Healthcare Association sent to Gov. Roy Cooper with several specific requests to improve the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the state, the governor’s office responded, saying there’s simply not enough vaccine in the state to meet demands.
“The Governor’s top priority is getting vaccines out quickly and equitably,” the statement said. “The state has directed vaccines to all 100 counties and deployed high-throughput sites. Unused vaccine here could lead federal authorities to cut future allotments, so NCDHHS has pushed providers to exhaust North Carolina’s supply of first doses. However, the reality is that there is not enough vaccine here for those eligible and we need more. North Carolina providers have shown they can distribute more than double the state’s current weekly allotment and the Governor will continue to urge federal officials to make more vaccine available.”
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW:
NCHA President Steve Lawler said the letter was a result of various conversations he’s had with Cooper and Cohen but didn’t want the concerns of hospitals and health systems he’s representing to get buried.
Among those issues expressed in the letter, Lawler called for more transparency and better communication.
“What we’ve asked, specifically is, one, involve us. Let us help you make good decisions because no one knows our patients and our communities as well as we do,” he said. “I think there’s a difference between providing directives and asking the people that are doing the work to participate in the design and development so that it’s done well. Because at the end of the day we’re taking directives- hospitals, health systems, community providers, health departments are taking this directive, which in many cases is last minute and we’re doing the best we can with it.”
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health will be giving second doses only of the COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic scheduled for Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available and appointments are not needed for second doses. First and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine and second doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available at
clinics scheduled on Wednesday, and Friday at the Crown from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last. People seeking second doses will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis or by appointment this week.
The Health Department will receive 975 first doses of Pfizer this week. Because of the limited supply of first doses and already scheduled first-dose appointments for the week, there will be reduced first-come, first-served opportunities on Wednesday and Friday.
Visit the County’s vaccine website for information on how to request an appointment block.
A drive-thru COVID-19 testing event has been scheduled for next week in Moore County on January 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Morganton Road Sports Complex at 190 Fire Lane in Southern Pines.
The testing event is open to all residents of Moore County with no physician referral required. Testing is sponsored by the Moore County Health Department and Goshen Medical Center.
Everyone who wishes to participate in testing should register by calling (910) 267-2044.
There will be no out of pocket cost for testing.
All testing participants are instructed to remain in their vehicle throughout the testing.
Lee County health officials announced six more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the county death total to 56 since March. The county said 253 more COVID-19 cases have been reported since last Monday, bringing the total to 4,682.
NCDHHS launched a new online tool for North Carolinians to know when they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Find My Vaccine asks a few questions to help determine what group you are in.
“Given the very limited supplies we currently have, there may be wait times, but every North Carolinian has a spot. A spot for accurate information. A spot in line. A spot to take their shot,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy K. Cohen.
As of Sunday evening, 88 percent of all first doses have been reported as being administered, according to NCDHHS.
Providers reported administering more than 260,000 doses this past week. As of Monday, the CDC ranked North Carolina 10th in total vaccines administered and 29th in vaccines administered per 100,000 people.
Beginning on Jan. 27, North Carolina will have only 120,000 doses to allocate across the entire state. A large portion of those doses are committed to the large-scale events planned several weeks ago to address the backlog in vaccine. As a result, many providers are getting small or no allocations for the coming week. Through no fault of their own, they will be postponing appointments.
Wake County is inviting health-care workers and anyone age 65 or older to join its COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. The county also is holding free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing events at Lake Benson Park through January 31.
Because of a change in the number of COVID-19 vaccines that Cape Fear Valley Health has been allotted by the State of North Carolina, the health system has had to reconfigure the way in which it runs its COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
Effective Tuesday, the health system will no longer be able to accommodate walk-ins for first-dose vaccinations at any of the four vaccine clinics in operation at Cape Fear Valley Rehabilitation Center, Health Pavilion North, Hoke Hospital and Bladen County Hospital.
Appointments can be scheduled online to receive a first-dose vaccination. Appointments will be opened for a given week the Saturday before.
At this time, no appointment is required for the second dose, but this may change as supply levels fluctuate. Cape Fear asks that people return to the same location where they received their first dose to receive the second dose.
The North Carolina Healthcare Association sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper with several specific requests to improve the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the state.
The letter includes seven different bullet points that the group believes would help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the vaccine rollout.
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW:
Sampson County reports 16 new cases for a total of 6,076 positive cases.
There have been three additional deaths since Friday for a countywide total of 78.
The Halifax County Health Department said that because of the limited allowance of vaccination from the state, it will vaccinate on Wednesday only this week. COVID 19 vaccinations will be offered at Halifax Community College Building 700 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. for group 1 and group 2 only.
If you are unable to walk, a health department worker will come and vaccinate you while you remain in your car.
Halifax County also reports 87 new cases and four additional deaths.
The county now has 4,058 total positive COVID 19 cases and 74 deaths.
Daily Lab Confirmed Cases
Wake County Health Department reports it received less than 1,000 new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
The department said it requested 3,000 doses, but instead only received one case of the Pfizer vaccine (975 doses).
Earlier today, UNC Health reported receiving just 10,000 doses of the vaccine, despite preparing for as many as 30,000.
ABC11 is working to see if other local agencies also received fewer vaccines than requested, and to get a comment from NCDHHS about the allocation decisions for this week.
COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped yet again in Monday’s report–marking the lowest count of 2021.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus is listed at 3,287. That’s the lowest since Dec. 27.
The daily percent positive also decreased, falling to 10.2%. That number remains well above the state’s 5% goal, which we were achieving at times during the summer.
Since the start of the pandemic, 8,720 people have died from the virus in North Carolina. For a full look at the state’s latest numbers, click here.
The Carolina Hurricanes have rescheduled another game due to COVID-19.
The Hurricanes’ home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning originally scheduled for Tuesday will now be played Feb. 22. Last week, Carolina postponed games against Nashville and Florida due to COVID-19 safety measures.
UNC Health will get 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the state this week, with that number being less than half of what was expected.
The UNC Health system said it would not cancel or postpone any appointments based on the news. The lower allocation meant fewer appointments were scheduled.
“We understand the frustration and disappointment of not being able to get an appointment for a vaccination more quickly,” said Dr. Ian Buchanan, UNC Health President of Ambulatory and Post-Acute Care. “This is truly an issue of supply and demand. We are very aware of the angst this is causing everyone who is eligible now to receive a vaccine and cannot get an appointment or who spends hours online trying to get one.”
UNC Health asks that patients call the state’s COVID-19 at 1-877-490-6642 or look online to find a vaccination location. UNC has given out more than 75,000 shots since the vaccination program started in December.
Wake County has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at an assisted living home in Cary, the second one at the facility since September.
Brookdale MacArthur Park, on MacArthur Drive, has had its second outbreak of the pandemic. An outbreak is defined as a situation where two or more people – residents or employees – tested positive. No other information about the residents or employees was disclosed.
The state has rolled out a COVID-19 Community Readiness toolkit to help those with disabilities and mental health issues. The toolkit contains resources for parents helping their children through remote learning as well as family-based needs.
The toolkit can be found here.
“These are unprecedented, stressful times, and we know families and individuals are being faced with existing and new mental health challenges,” said Victor Armstrong, Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services. “We want to provide North Carolinians with this toolkit to give them all the support they need to navigate these difficult times to stay healthy physically and mentally.”
MONDAY MORNING STORYLINES
Three new COVID-19 testing sties will open in Wake County on Monday.
Jaycee Park and Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh along with Lake Benson Park in Garner will be open for testing. All sites are reachable by public transportation and begin at 11 a.m. You don’t need an appointment, insurance or ID to get tested.
For the full, up-to-date list of Wake County testing sites (including hours of operation), click here.
Sunday marked the fourth straight day of more than 100 COVID-19-related deaths in North Carolina. Over the weekend, the U.S. passed 25 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
In Chatham County, more than 400 people (healthcare workers and those over 65) are expected to get vaccinated at the Chatham County Agricultural and Conference Center on Monday.
President Joe Biden is expected to reinstate the COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-US citizens who have been in Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe
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