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No local COVID deaths last week

Despite the easing of many statewide health safety mandates, local health officials are urging citizens to remain vigilant in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 virus.

Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina is lifting all mandatory capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements and most mandatory mask requirements as of Friday, May 14. There will continue to be a mandatory indoor mask requirement on public transportation, in child care, in schools, in prisons, and in certain public health settings. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) strongly encourages unvaccinated people to wear masks and certainly anyone who feels better protected or has received advice from a doctor should continue to wear a mask.

“I fully support the lifting of restrictions and remain hopeful that our communities will rise to the challenge and get vaccinated to better protect us all,” said R. Battle Betts, Jr. who serves as Health Director of Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS).

“Even though mask mandates and social distancing requirements have been lifted, it does not mean we can let our guard down. Full vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. Please encourage your family and friends to get their vaccine,” Betts added.

While the number of those fully vaccinated continues to slowly increase, northeastern North Carolina continues to see a downward trend in deaths and active cases of the virus.

ARHS did not report a single, COVID-related death from COVID last week across its eight-county region, which includes Bertie, Gates and Hertford. Those three counties respectively reported 10, 7, and 14 active cases of the virus as of Friday, May 14.

The Northampton County Health Department reported no COVID-19 deaths last week. As of May 14, there were 15 active cases of the virus in the county.

Northampton citizens, ages 18-and-over and regardless of Priority Group, can be vaccinated at the Health Department in Jackson. To schedule an appointment, call 252-534-5841.

ARHS has changed over to a total “appointment only” plan to administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine and single doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Local residents can make a vaccine appointment by calling ARHS offices in Ahoskie (252-862-4054), Gatesville (252-357-1380), or Windsor (252-794-5322).

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.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control announced last week they had authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 and older.

“ARHS is collaborating with our local school systems to implement a widespread vaccine campaign when students return to school in August. There also may be additional vaccine opportunities over the summer,” said Betts.

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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