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COVID vaccinations exceed 28,000 locally

The numbers are headed in the right direction.

After a slow roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine locally due to interruptions in the national supply chain, local counties are beginning to see a noted increase in their weekly allocations. That has allowed more individuals to receive their shots and the number of first and second doses is on the rise throughout the Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) district – which includes Bertie, Gates, and Hertford counties – as well as the Northampton County Health Department.

As of late last week, 8,975 shots have been administered in Bertie County (4,942 first doses and 4,033 second doses); 7,668 people have been vaccinated in Hertford County (4,333 first doses and 3,335 second doses); and 4,924 shots have been delivered in Gates County (2,631 first doses and 2,293 second doses).

Meanwhile, the staff at the Northampton County Health Department have administered 6,920 total doses since the vaccine became available. Of that number, 4,644 are first doses while 2,276 have received their second dose.

Those local numbers will increase this week as ARHS continues to use its community partners to operate drive-thru vaccine clinics. Those local clinics (for first doses as well as a second dose for those who received their initial dose of the Moderna vaccine on or before Feb. 18) are as follows:

Wednesday, March 17 from 3-6 pm (or until supplies are depleted) at the Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater, located at 125 Edgewood Drive;

Wednesday, March 17 from 3-6 pm (or until supplies are depleted) at the Gates County Health Department, located at 29 Medical Center Road, Gates; and

Wednesday, March 17 from 3-6 pm (or until supplies are depleted) at Bertie High School, located at 715 US Hwy 13 North, Windsor.

The Northampton County Health Department (NCHD) administers the vaccine by appointment. Call 252-534-5841 to schedule an appointment.

Those receiving their second shot are reminded to attend the clinic in the county where their first dose was administered. They are also reminded to bring the vaccine card they received with their first dose. Those not having that card may experience additional delays, or may be turned away and rescheduled.

ARHS is compiling a wait list (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ARHSCOVIDWaitList)for all individuals in their eight-county region who still need their COVID-19 vaccine. However, please keep in mind that their clinics are open to all residents and are experiencing very low wait times.

The NCHD will hold a second dose vaccination clinic from 9-11 am on Saturday, March 27 at the W.S. Creecy School gymnasium in Rich Square for only the individuals that received their first dose at that location on Feb. 27. There is no need to call to schedule an appointment as Health Department staff will call you at least two business days to alert you of the time.

There were two local deaths – one each in Hertford and Northampton counties – last week due to the COVID-19 virus.

The current death toll across the local four counties now stands at 185 since the pandemic began in March of last year. Northampton has lost 67 of its citizens to the virus; Hertford County has recorded 62 deaths; Bertie has 44; and Gates County has 12.

Meanwhile, the number of active COVID cases continues to decline. Over a one-week period (March 5-12), the number of new cases totaled 23 in Northampton County; 16 in Bertie; 11 in Gates; and 7 in Hertford.

At the state level, only 862 new cases were reported on Saturday, March 13. That’s compared to 4,568 new cases reported one month earlier (Feb. 13).

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control announced new COVID-19 guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. Those changes include:

You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

“With this new guidance from the CDC we truly see hope and it is more important than ever to roll up your sleeve and receive your vaccine,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr. “We are nearing the finish line and the more people who are fully vaccinated the sooner we will get back to normal. Our number one goal is to get the vaccine to those who want and need it.”

 

 

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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