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COVID cases and deaths continue to decline locally

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to decline locally, regional health officials are making modifications to the deployment of vaccines.

The Northampton County Health Department continues to offer vaccinations to eligible groups/individuals by appointment only by calling 252-534-5841.

Meanwhile, Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) will be initiating appointments for first dose vaccines at each of its local health departments effective Monday, March 29. Appointments will be available to residents of the eight county region who are age 18 and older.

First dose COVID-19 vaccines with not be offered at drive-thru clinic sites. Please call your local health department to make an appointment to receive your first dose of vaccine: Bertie County (252-794-5322), Gates County (252-357-1380), and Hertford County (252-862-4054).

“First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has rolled up their sleeve to receive their vaccine and for those who have not done so yet, we have your spot to take your shot,” said ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr. “Our widespread mass clinics have been well received throughout the community, but in an effort to utilize resources efficiently, we will start offering first dose vaccine appointments at each of our local health departments. Moving away from first dose mass clinics and integrating them into our normal workflows is just another step in moving forward from this pandemic.”

Betts added that ARHS will continue to provide drive thru clinics for individuals who need their second doses.

“If you received your first dose at one of our clinics, regardless of residence status, you will be able to receive your second dose as long as you have your vaccine card with you,” he said.

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.

Second dose clinics are open to individuals who received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on or before Friday, March 5.

A second dose clinic is slated locally at Bertie County High School’s parking lot from 9-11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31.

As of Friday, March 26, a total of 9,596 first and second doses have been administered in Bertie County; 5,351 in Gates County; 8,400 in Hertford County; and 8,635 in Northampton County.

There was only one COVID-19 related death in the R-C area last week. ARHS has received notification confirming that death in Bertie County. That individual was in the 50-64 year age range. This death is not associated with a facility outbreak.

The local death toll now stands at 188 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 45; and Gates County has 12.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases continues to decline. As of March 26, there were 18 active cases in Hertford County, 12 in Northampton County, 10 in Gates County, and seven in Bertie County.

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.

Health officials continue to ask local citizens to be mindful in practicing preventive and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please remember these precautions:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Practice social distancing; stay at least six feet away from others, avoid unnecessary travel, avoid handshakes, hugs and other close contact.

Wear a cloth face covering in public.

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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