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COVID shots top 30,000 in R-C area

More and more people across the Roanoke-Chowan area are seeking protection from the COVID-19 virus.

For the fourth consecutive week, the number of local residents receiving the COVID vaccine has risen, according to data from the Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) district – which includes Bertie, Gates, and Hertford counties – as well as the Northampton County Health Department.

As of March 19, a total of 30,430 shots have been put into the arms of local residents. That number is over 2,000 more than the previous week.

Those numbers, by county, are:

Bertie: 9,261 total shots (5,091 first doses and 4,170 second doses);

Gates: 5,141 total shots (2,741 first doses and 2,400 second doses);

Hertford: 8,051 total shots (4,444 first doses and 3,607 second doses); and

Northampton: 7,977 total shots (5,314 first doses and 2,633 second doses).

“ARHS, North Carolina and the country continue to see an increase in vaccine supply, so once again we encourage you to get your vaccine,” stated ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr. “It is a new day. This vaccine is an opportunity – an opportunity to hug your loved ones once again and I don’t know about you but I am more than ready. We look forward to seeing all of our residents, 18 and older of course, at our clinics.”

Meanwhile, the Northampton County Health Department reminds its citizens that effective last week, the state revised the eligibility of individuals who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine to include individuals (ages 18-and-over) with higher risk medical conditions. That group is added to a list which also includes healthcare workers, individuals 65 and older, childcare providers, educators working in PreK-12 schools, and frontline essential workers.

Northampton County offers the vaccine by appointment only by calling 252-534-5841.

ARHS is scheduling drive-thru clinics this week in the Roanoke-Chowan area (for first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine) as follows:

Wednesday, March 24 from 2-6 pm (or until supplies are depleted) at Bertie High School, located at 715 US Hwy 13 North, Windsor; and

Wednesday, March 24 from 2-6 pm (or until supplies are depleted) at the Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater, located at 125 Edgewood Drive, Ahoskie.

The second dose is for those who received their first dose on or before Feb. 27. 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 of the need to verify your first dose for your safety.

If you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with another provider such as Walgreens or CVS, you will need to return to that same facility for your second dose.

There were two local COVID-19 related deaths last week in the Roanoke-Chowan area, one each in Hertford and Northampton counties. That increased the local death toll to 187 since the pandemic began in March of last year. Northampton has lost 68 of its citizens to the virus; Hertford County has recorded 63 deaths; Bertie has 44; and Gates County has 12.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases continues to decline. As of March 19, there were 18 active cases in Hertford County, 16 in Northampton County, 12 in Bertie County, and 10 in Gates County.

“It is hard to believe that we have been dealing with this pandemic for a year,” said Betts, “We announced our first case of COVID-19 on March 19, 2020. On March 19, 2021, we reflect on all that we have learned over this past year, the lives lost and the struggles felt by many.

“But today (March 19) we also celebrate three vaccines that are proving safe and effective,” Betts continued. “We celebrate the ARHS region reaching 99 active cases, as we have not been below 100 active cases since July 2020. We celebrate resiliency and determination to continue to learn from this pandemic and rise above as a region and a community.

“If you have not had your vaccine yet, please know we are ready to serve you, and to offer yet one more opportunity to ensure your health and safety, along with those around you,” he concluded.

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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