One in five adults in eight NC counties have received initial COVID vaccine shot

Nearly 20 percent of adults living in Albemarle Regional Health Services’ territory in northeastern North Carolina received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first month the shots have been available.

The initial push in Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Gates, Hertford and Bertie counties has been deemed a success compared to other parts of the state, but health officials warned that progress may slow over the next few weeks.

“While the weather caused us to re-schedule several vaccine clinics, we still had a successful week administering vaccine
throughout the region,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr.

“ARHS staff, community partners and volunteers continue to be the driving force behind the vaccine campaign and our numbers show that we have moved mountains,” Betts said in a statement issued Friday.

“Many communities have not had the vaccine to administer that we have had,” Betts said. “I am grateful for everyone’s hard work and commitment, and I am thankful that we have been able to administer nearly 25,000 first doses and nearly 3,000 second doses in just four weeks.”

Betts said he anticipates a shift in vaccination clinic numbers, and asked for patience until additional doses are available nationwide.

“We will meet our goals and we will reach herd immunity, but know it will take time,” Betts said.

More first-come, first-served, drive-thru vaccination clinics have been scheduled for the coming week for those in group one (healthcare workers) and group two (everyone 65 and older). Only those who live in the ARHS region and meet the priority groups should come to the clinics.

Patients are asked not to arrive prior to 8:30 a.m. to avoid possible safety issues, and there will be a midday break for staff and volunteers and staff.

Monday, February 1, 9 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 4 p.m.
Bertie County High School, Windsor
Camden County Library, Belcross
American Legion Fairgrounds, Edenton
Currituck Community Park/YMCA, Maple

Tuesday, February 2, 9 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 4 p.m.
Gates County Health Department, Gates
Roanoke Chowan Community College, Ahoskie
Elizabeth City Regional Airport, Elizabeth City
Perquimans County Recreation Center, Hertford

Second dose clinics

Clinics are open to individuals who received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on or before Thursday, January 7. The date on your card noting when your second dose is due is the suggested date you should receive your second dose.

First dose vaccinations will not be provided at these clinics.

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.

Please plan to attend the clinic in the county where you received your first dose. 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 we have to verify your first dose for your safety.

Wednesday, February 3, 9 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 4 p.m.
Bertie County High School, Windsor
Camden Intermediate School, Camden
American Legion Fairgrounds, Edenton
Currituck Community Park/YMCA, Maple

Thursday, February 4, 9 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 4 p.m.
Gates County Health Department, Gates
Ahoskie Creek Amphitheater, Ahoskie
Perquimans County Recreation Center, Hertford

New case count, active case numbers improving

“While we want to continue to see individuals follow the guidance by limiting gatherings, wearing a mask, maintaining a safe distance, and regular handwashing and hygiene, we are very encouraged by our weekly numbers and the decrease in active cases,” Betts said.

ARHS has received notification confirming three additional deaths associated with COVID-19 in Hertford County. Two individuals were over the age of 65 and one in the 50-64 year age range. These deaths are not associated with a facility outbreak.

Currituck County has also received notification of an additional death associated with complications of COVID19. This individual was over the age of 65 and succumbed to complications from COVID-19. This death is not related to a facility outbreak.

Bertie County is confirming five additional deaths related to COVID-19. Four individuals were over the age of 65 and one in the 50-64 year age range. These deaths are not related to a facility outbreak.

In addition, Pasquotank County is confirming four deaths associated with COVID-19. These individuals were all over the age 65 and
succumbed to complications of the virus. One death is associated with the facility outbreak at Citadel.

Although we are moving into the vaccine phase of the pandemic, 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.

“I want to thank you all for what you have done to bring these numbers down. Again, we do have a ways to go and we cannot let our guard down, but this shows us our actions do make a difference and with the vaccine campaign, the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter every day,” said Betts.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.