ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — There’s good news out of northeast North Carolina in the battle against COVID-19, according to the president of Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City.
In a Zoom session with members of the civic organization “100 Black Men,” Dr. Phil Jackson gave them a general timeline of how busy the hospital has been in treating COVID-19 patients in the past year.
“We probably got up to 10 to 12 patients back when it first hit,” said Jackson, referring to the February to March timeframe in 2020. He took over as president of Sentara Albemarle in November 2019.
“It wasn’t until we got into the months of November, December  and January  that we have seen our highest numbers. There were points and times in our hospital that probably 60% of our patients were COVID-19.”
Jackson says the number of people now hospitalized while battling the virus has dropped dramatically since the peak around Christmas. He says there are now “a few patients” in Sentara Albemarle that have COVID-19.
Jackson, who holds a doctorate of strategic leadership from Regent University, says the medical center is working with the North Carolina State Health Department and Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) to get vaccines to people in underserved communities.
“When we got vaccine from the state, the purpose of the vaccine was to make sure that that vaccine went to underserved communities. I was adamant that that’s where it was going to go,” Jackson said.
Jackson says he and his staff reached out to faith-based organizations “to make sure that we could come and vaccinate their members.”
“We went down to the fisheries, vaccinated migrant workers. We affiliated with Catholic Charities so we could vaccinate Hispanic communities,” he said.
Prior to coming to Sentara Albermarle, Jackson spent 33 years in United States Navy medical operations, including as administrator at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.
In the meantime, residents of northeast North Carolina wanting to get the vaccine can go to any of the Albermarle Regional Health Services clinics that run now through March 4. Those clinics are for those wanting a first or second dose.