New cases up in county, educators next for vaccine

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New cases reported on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard show 163 more cases in Person County since last week, up from 94 in the previous week.
The new cases take the county’s total count to 2,741.
Eight new deaths since last week’s report take the county’s total death toll to 58.
In the past week, the county’s two-week percent of positive tests fell from 13.4 to 11.8 percent.
Person County providers have administered 5,455 total doses according to the dashboard’s Wednesday update – 4,444 first doses and 1,011 second doses.
The dashboard reports that 11.25 percent of the county has received the first dose and 2.56 of the county’s population have completed the two-dose series.
Educators first in next vaccine group
North Carolina’s next phase of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout will begin Feb. 24 with the state’s educators, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday.
On that date, the state’s childcare, pre-kindergarten and K-12 school staff will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said that group would be about 24,000 people statewide.
“North Carolina public school educators are eager to get back into their classrooms as soon as it is safe to do so, and today’s announcement from Governor Cooper is an important step forward in making that a possibility,” said North Carolina Association of Educators President Tamika Walker Kelly said. “By giving all educators, including bus drivers, maintenance workers, nutrition workers, and those who work directly in the classroom vaccination priority, we will be able to resume in-person instruction more quickly and safely. We thank Governor Cooper for listening to the overwhelming message from educators, parents, and the community that educators require vaccination priority. This also shows how unnecessary Senate Bill 37 really is, which would undermine the return to in-person instruction by restricting the decision-making of local school boards and shows a lack of understanding about the necessity of mainstreaming most exceptional children as required by federal law. When it comes to these local decisions, a one-size-fits-all approach fails almost every time.”
Cooper also announced that frontline, essential workers will be able to begin getting the vaccine March 10.
Cohen said there will be no identification requirement to prove that someone is an essential worker.
Cooper and Cohen said the bottleneck for vaccinations is the low supply coming from the federal government.
However, Cooper announced Tuesday that the state would receive an additional five percent of vaccines this week, equating to approximately 7,500 more doses.
The governor also signed an Executive Order Tuesday expanding the authority to administer FDA-authorized vaccine to now include the state’s licensed dentists.
County remains in the red
For the fourth straight county spread map update, Person County remains in the “critical community spread” classification.
The map, updated Feb. 4, shows the county in the red as 25 other counties transitioned from the worst classification down to “substantial community spread.”
Counties in the region that improved in the most recent update include Granville, Rockingham, Alamance and Guilford counties.
Data from the Feb. 4 update shows Person County with 743 cases per 100,000 residents, a 12.9 percent test positivity rate and moderate hospital impact for the 14 days from Jan. 17 and 30.
Despite remaining in the worst classification, the county’s metrics have improved.
The Jan. 21 map update shows 765.1 cases per 100,000 residents and a 15.5 percent test positivity rate.
There has been no change in the reported hospital impact between the two updates.

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