North Carolina to expand vaccine eligibility to Group 3 Feb. 24, Gov. Cooper says

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY/WNCN) – Gov. Cooper and the Coronavirus Task Force held a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday as the state continues to see a decline in patients hospitalized.

During the briefing, Cooper announced that beginning February 24, the state will expand eligibility to Group 3 — starting with educators and school personnel and expanding to additional Group 3 frontline workers on March 10.

Educators will be the first in Group 3 to be eligible to get their shot. This includes teachers, principals, childcare providers, bus drivers, custodial and cafeteria staff, and others in pre-K-12 schools and childcare centers.

Health care workers anticipate it’ll be an estimate of nearly 240,000 people once the group opens.

“Starting with a smaller number of Group 3 frontline workers helps providers streamline vaccine distribution effectively and efficiently. Providers can start distributing the vaccine methodically for essential workers while continuing to vaccinate those currently eligible,” he continued.

As of Tuesday night, Cooper said the state has administered nearly 1.5 million vaccines and continuing to push for more.

“Yesterday, the Biden Administration told us that each state would receive 5 percent more vaccine, which amounts to about 7,500 more doses in North Carolina this week. The more vaccines we can get, the better off we are. And we’re going to keep pushing for that every day,” Cooper said.

As for the daily numbers, North Carolina has continued their downward turn, with 2,291 hospitalized — the smallest number since Dec. 7 (2,247).

Wednesday’s number is 86 fewer than Tuesday, the only day in the past two weeks that saw an increase, however modest (7). Nearly 96 percent of hospitals across the state are reporting data.

Currently hospitalized
(Courtesy: NCDHHS)

Another 135 deaths were added, the first time since Friday that the state had more than 100 deaths reported.

It’s the 12th time in three weeks that 100 or more deaths were reported. That pushes the state’s total further past the 10,000 mark bringing North Carolina to 10,181.

The state added 3,833 new cases, a below-average number, but the more significant update is that the seven-day rolling average of 4,227 is at its lowest point since Dec. 4.

Here’s why it fell so far Wednesday: The huge number of 12,000 cases reported last Wednesday — which included about 7,000 old cases from FastMed clinics over the previous two months — dropped out of the seven-day window that is used to figure out the rolling average.

So with that number no longer in the mix to skew the figures, we are finally getting a more accurate measure of the seven-day trend.

Daily case report since beginning of pandemic
(Courtesy: NCDHHS)

The state’s percent positive dipped to 7.9 percent, based on testing from Monday.

It’s a drop of more than a percentage point from the 9.3 percent Tuesday and has been in the 7 percent range for five of the past seven days.

Additionally, the state is reporting that nearly 730,454 patients are presumed to have recovered from the virus as of Monday, February 8.

Wednesday Metrics

  • Total Cases: 805,898
  • Newly Reported Cases: 3,833
  • Completed Tests: 9,379,095
  • Currently Hospitalized: 2,291
  • Total Deaths: 10,181
  • Daily Percent Positive: 7.9%

Local Cases

  • Bertie: 1,578 cases – 39 deaths*
  • Camden: 505 cases – 5 deaths
  • Chowan: 1,290 cases – 21 deaths
  • Currituck: 1,202 cases – 14 deaths
  • Dare: 1,777 cases – 7 deaths
  • Gates: 599 cases – 12 deaths
  • Hertford: 1,869 cases – 56 deaths
  • Pasquotank: 2,858 cases – 74 deaths
  • Perquimans: 825 cases – 5 deaths

*Bertie County reported five additional deaths and Hertford reported one on Wednesday.

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