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COVID-19 vaccine available to ages 65 & up

The effort to vaccinate citizens for the COVID-19 virus has now broadened to include those ages 65-and-over.

Based on guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) will be focused this week (Jan. 19-22) on registering those in Group 1 (healthcare workers) and Group 2 (adults 65 and older).

In an effort to document demand and need for the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the region, ARHS will be collecting names and contact information for each county through an online registration process. Therefore, anyone who has yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine and is interested to get the shot is encouraged to complete the online registration form – http://www.arhs-nc.org/information/COVID-19/vaccines/.

“We are asking individuals to be mindful of the target groups and the ARHS service area and only register if you are a resident and qualify for that target group. These groups will open up as we continue to get more vaccine,” stated R. Battle Betts Jr., ARHS Health Director.

ARHS serves eight counties in the northeastern part of the state, to include Bertie, Gates and Hertford.

Northampton County citizens who are either healthcare workers or ages 65-and-over that have not received their first dose of the vaccine need to schedule an appointment by calling the county’s Health Department at 252-534-5841.

“The Northampton County Health Department immediately started scheduling 65 and over individuals for the COVID-19 vaccine when Governor Cooper announced the change last week,” said Northampton Health Director Andy Smith. “NCHD continues to schedule appointments based on the amount of vaccine received on a weekly basis and immediately calls individuals who are on the current waiting when doses are available.”

Betts said ARHS has a set vaccine allocation for each county and the first individuals signed up and registered through the web link will be contacted to receive a vaccine appointment. You can only register for one county – if you register for more than one county, your name will be removed. If you are contacted for a clinic and do not show up, you will be required to re-register.

This list will be used for pre-registration for future first dose clinics. If you are not pre-registered for those clinics, you will not be able to receive vaccine at that time. These clinics will be advertised to recipients only and will not be mass first come, first served clinics.

Vaccine allotments will vary from week to week and ARHS is not notified of those numbers until the beginning of each week. Based on those numbers, ARHS will work to establish clinics to meet demand region wide.

As of Friday, Jan. 15, ARHS had administered 11,815 doses of the vaccine across its eight counties. Of that total, a combined 2,600 shots were given in Bertie (800), Gates (700), and Hertford (1,100) counties.

The registration process for second doses will be launched and announced next week. Check the ARHS website for additional information.

“ARHS has had a robust start to our COVID-19 vaccine campaign across the region over the last two weeks and I cannot thank our community enough for the outpouring of support and patience with the vaccine process,” Betts stated. “Vaccine supplies allocated from the federal and state government remain low, therefore the demand for the vaccine far exceeds our ability to vaccinate all who need and want it. ARHS remains committed to utilizing all of our resources to help ensure the vaccine is allocated to our region.”

For additional information, ARHS affiliate offices locally can be reached at:

Bertie County: 252-794-5322

Gates County: 252-357-1380

Hertford County: 252- 862-4054 (NOTE: this number has corrected from what was published in last Wednesday’s edition.)

The main office of ARHS in Elizabeth City can be reached at 252-338-4400.

As of late last week, there had been nearly 9,000 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the ARHS area since the pandemic began 10 months ago. Hertford County has the second highest number of cases (1,608) in the region. Bertie has seen 1,402 cases, and Gates has recorded 455 cases.

Northampton has seen 1,349 positive cases since last March.

Active cases locally (as of Jan. 15) are 159 in Bertie; 138 in Northampton; 157 in Gates; and 120 in Hertford.

Meanwhile, the number of local individuals who have recovered from the virus continues to grow: 1,435 in Hertford County; 1,213 in Bertie; 1,151 in Northampton; and 286 in Gates.

Locally there have been 155 deaths due to the virus (60 in Northampton; 53 in Hertford; 30 in Bertie; and 12 in Gates).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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