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Stanly County receives 1,500 doses of coronavirus vaccine

After inclement weather forced delays in vaccine distribution last week, the health department received two shipments of first doses this week — the 700 that were scheduled to arrive last week and 800 that were specifically allotted for this week.

The two shipments comprise the most vaccine doses the county has received in a single week since the state began distributing them to vaccine providers in late December.

The department also received 500 second doses of the vaccine this week.

First dose appointments that had to be rescheduled last Thursday and Friday were rescheduled for the same day and time this week, according to Wendy Growcock, public education specialist with the health department.

A total of 400 first dose appointments were scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Growcock said.

With all educators and school support staff eligible to receive vaccinations beginning Feb. 24, the health department — in coordination with Stanly County Schools and Stanly County Partnership for Children — was planning to vaccinate 500 teachers and childcare workers during a special clinic on Saturday. Though appointments are full, the department will reserve a small number of appointments on each first dose vaccination day for teachers and school employees.

Growcock said the majority of the department’s first dose vaccination appointments are still for people 65 and older, which comprise about 12,000 of the roughly 63,000 people living in Stanly, “but we do not have a timeline for when they will be fully vaccinated.”

The state will then expand to additional Group 3 frontline workers on March 10. That group includes law enforcement officers, manufacturing workers, grocery store clerks, restaurant workers, mail carriers, court workers, elected officials, homeless shelter staff, public health workers, social workers and public transit workers.

Growcock said the department is also still working with the Stanly County Minority Health Council to see how it can best serve historically marginalized communities.

“Equitable access to vaccines is a priority of Stanly County Health Department,” she said.

According to the latest NCDHHS data, 7,063 people in Stanly have received the first vaccine dose (11 percent of the population) while 3,795 people are fully vaccinated after receiving the second dose (6 percent of the population). The county health department has specifically administered 5,144 first doses and 2,050 second doses.
The county department typically administers first doses on Thursdays and Fridays and second doses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Across the state, almost 2.2 million total vaccine doses have been administered, including almost 1.4 million first doses. An estimated 12 percent of all North Carolinians have received the first vaccine dose.

Cases largely decreasing across the state 

With an additional 22 new cases reported on Thursday, the county has now had almost 6,800 total cases since last March. Though the numbers often fluctuate from day to day, it appears the numbers are declining; this time last month on Jan. 25, for example, 99 new cases were reported.

There are six people currently hospitalized, down from 26 last week, while 128 people who had COVID-19 have died.

Stanly’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate is at 10.1 percent, per the state Health and Human Services Department, which is above the state’s current overall rate of 4.5 percent.
Stanly County is now listed as orange for “substantial community spread” on the state’s color-coded county alert map created to identity the state’s hotspots. It was previously listed as red, for “critical community spread.”
With cases and hospitalizations continuing to decrease across the state, Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced easing of restrictions, including allowing a variety of businesses (restaurants, breweries/wineries, gyms, museums) to operate at 50 percent capacity beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
The modified stay-at-home order was also lifted Friday while alcohol sales were extended from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“We think this is a positive step,” Cooper said. “We are going to continue to watch the data. We’re going to put the health and safety of people first.”
Statewide, there have been more than 10 million tests conducted resulting in at least 852,981 cases. At least 1,498 people were reported hospitalized Wednesday, down from more than 3,600 last month, and 11,137 people have died.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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