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Vaccine clinics slated

Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) has decided to move away from its pre-registration process for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and hold weekly vaccination clinics in its eight-county district.

First dose clinics locally for healthcare workers and for individuals ages 65-and-over are as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 9-11:30 a.m. and again from 1-4 p.m. at Bertie High School (715 US HWY 13 North, Windsor);

Thursday, Jan. 28 from 9-11:30 a.m. and again from 1-4 p.m. at Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater (125 Edgewood Drive, Ahoskie); and

Thursday, Jan. 28 from 9-11:30 a.m. and again from 1-4 p.m. at the Gates County Health Department (29 Medical Center Road, Gates).

These clinics are on a first come/first serve basis. Lines will close when the allocation has been exhausted.

Please note that these clinics are for only open for those receiving their first dose of the two-dose vaccine.

For those in those priority groups that went through the online process to pre-register, ARHS officials said that those individuals will be contacted and be advised of the vaccination clinics in their respective counties.

“These clinics will have set hours and set vaccine doses available, and will be provided on a first come, first served basis,” said R. Battle Betts, Jr., ARHS Health Director. “ARHS is receiving vaccine weekly and are working to establish clinics to meet demand region wide based on current priority groups. Continue to check our website https://www.arhs-nc.org for vaccine clinic times and dates.

“Each week we are learning more about our capacity to respond to the need and demand regionwide and are adjusting our plans accordingly,” Betts added. “We are beyond proud of our staff and county partners for their selfless acts, battling frigid temperatures and long hours to get vaccines into arms. Your grace and kindness is greatly appreciated.”

As of Friday, Jan. 22, ARHS has administered a total of 20,615 COVID-19 vaccines, of which 2,270 were in Bertie County; 1,870 in Hertford County; and 1,360 in Gates County.

After receiving your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, ARHS officials said you should register at http://www.arhs-nc.org/information/COVID-19/vaccines/. ARHS will use the information from this survey to share information on clinic locations and times for a second dose. This will be used for communication only and will not guarantee an appointment or dose.

The date on your card noting when your second dose is due is the suggested date you should receive your second dose. It can be administered after that date, or four days prior to that date. The series will not need to be restarted if you receive it after that date. ARHS officials said they will be working to get all individuals vaccinated as close to that date as possible through clinic offerings.

You will need to bring the vaccine card you received with your first dose with you to this clinic. If you do not have your card, you may experience additional delays, or may be turned away and rescheduled because they have to verify your first dose for your safety.

While the news is good on the vaccine front, COVID-19 is sadly still claiming local lives.

On Friday, ARHS reported the deaths of three more individuals this week in Bertie County and one more in Hertford County.

Two individuals in Bertie were over the age of 65 and one was in the 50-64 year age range. The Hertford County death was an individual over the age of 65. None of the four deaths were associated with any of the local outbreaks at congregate living facilities.

The Northampton County Health Department is reporting two COVID deaths this week.

Since pandemic began in March of last year, there have been 62 deaths from the virus in Northampton County; 54 in Hertford County; 33 in Bertie County; and 12 in Gates County.

For those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Northampton County, appointments can be made by calling the health department at 252-534-5841.

COVID-19 testing is still available for those meeting criteria by appointment only at the local health departments across the region. ARHS encourages residents to call their primary care provider for an assessment or information on testing availability before calling the local health department. If someone does not have a primary care home, ARHS does offer primary care services.

All tests will be completed through a curbside screening clinic at the local health department. For more information on criteria for COVID-19 testing or appointments, call 252-338-WELL/9355 or your local health department directly.

ARHS is collaborating with OptumServe to provide additional, no-cost COVID-19 testing sites in Bertie, Hertford, Gates, and Chowan counties. Typically testing is available Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Friday from 1 – 5 p.m. You may check availability and register to make an appointment for testing by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (877) – 562-4850.

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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