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Health Department receives first shipment of Pfizer vaccine

For the first time since the beginning of the vaccination rollout late last year, the Stanly County Health Department received doses this week of the Pfizer vaccine.

The department received almost 2,000 doses this week — 1,170 first doses from Pfizer and 800 second doses from Moderna, according to Health Director David Jenkins. That’s an increase from the 1,600 doses it received last week. The department had previously only received doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“We were somewhat expecting (to receive the Pfizer vaccine) due to the state indicating we could receive some,” Jenkins said, noting that going forward, he’s not sure if the county will continue to receive weekly shipments of the vaccine.

Even though people who receive the Pfizer vaccine only have to wait three weeks for the second dose, the department is operating on a four-week schedule since they are still only receiving second doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The department is vaccinating people in Groups 1-4. These groups include healthcare professionals with in-person patient contact, residents and workers at long-term care facilities, adults over 65, front-line essential workers and any person with certain pre-existing health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

With more people getting vaccinated across the state and with coronavirus metrics gradually improving, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that he would ease COVID-19 restrictions beginning at 5 p.m. March 26.

The main changes include:

  • Gathering size limit will increase to 5o people indoors and 100 people outdoors. It previously was set for 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
  • Retail stores, salons, museums and aquariums will be allowed to open at 100 percent capacity, up from 5o percent.
  • Restaurants, breweries, gyms and pools will be open at 75 percent capacity indoors, up from 50 percent, and 100 percent outdoors.
  • Bars, conference centers, music venues, sports arenas (including high schools) will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity, up from 30 percent.

Cooper also announced Thursday that all adults in the state will be eligible to to sign up for a vaccine appointment starting April 7.

Additionally, starting Wednesday, everyone in Group 4 will be eligible to receive vaccinations. The first portion of Group 4 became eligible to receive the vaccine March 17.

The rest of Group 4 includes essential workers in commercial services such as hospitality and retail, chemical and pharmaceutical facilities, construction, housing and real estate and other essential sectors.

Vaccination numbers rising 

According to the latest NCDHHS data, 10,975 people in Stanly have received at least one vaccine dose (accounting for 17.5 percent of the population) while 6,948 people are fully vaccinated (11.1 percent). The county health department has administered 9,796 first doses and 4,527 second doses.
A higher percentage of people have received at least one dose in Stanly than in many of its more urban neighboring counties including Cabarrus, Union, Rowan and Mecklenburg.
The majority of people who have been fully vaccinated in the county have been senior citizens. More than a third of all those 65 to 74 in Stanly have been vaccinated while roughly half of those 75 and older have been vaccinated. These two age groups account for 72 percent of the people who have been fully vaccinated.
About eight percent of all people 50 to 64 have been fully vaccinated followed by five percent of people 25 to 49 and almost two percent of people 18 to 24.
While much of the racial data regarding who has been vaccinated in Stanly is incomplete — with no information on how many Black, Asian and other minority groups have been vaccinated — from what is available from the state, roughly 13 percent of all white people in the county and two percent of all Hispanics have been fully vaccinated.
To date, North Carolina has administered more than 4.1 million vaccine doses. Roughly 33 percent of people 18 and up have received at least one dose, and 20 percent are fully vaccinated.
To make a vaccine appointment, call the Health Department’s hotline at 980-323-0205.
By the numbers
An additional 18 new COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday, bringing the county’s cumulative total since last March to 7,182. Twelve people are hospitalized while 129 people who had the virus have died.
Stanly’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate, as of Friday morning, is 7.8 percent, per the state Health and Human Services Department, higher than the state state’s overall rate of 4.2 percent.

Below is a breakdown of the number of cases and deaths of each municipality according to DHHS data:

  • Albemarle (28001): 3,091 cases and 79 deaths;
  • New London (28127): 1,067 cases and eight deaths;
  • Norwood (28128): 757 cases and nine deaths;
  • Locust (28097): 714 cases and three deaths;
  • Oakboro (28129): 575 cases and six deaths;
  • Stanfield (28163): 513 cases and three deaths;
  • Richfield (28137): 321 cases and four deaths;
  • Badin (28009): No information for the town.

Statewide, there have been 11 million tests conducted resulting in at least 903,374 cases. A total of at 945 people were reported hospitalized Wednesday, and 11,987 people have died.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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