RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Coronavirus Task Force broke down the state’s current vaccination prioritization plan which is expected to move into the next phase in January.
Vaccines will eventually be available to anyone, but supplies are currently limited, so the state is issuing vaccinations in phases and by groups, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said.
As of Wednesday, North Carolina is in Phase 1a, which includes healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients, healthcare workers administering the vaccine and long-term care staff and residents.
Cohen said North Carolina may move into Phase 1b in early January.
Phase 1b will be divided into three groups so that people may be vaccinated as supplies become available.
The first group in Phase 1b will include anyone 75 years old and older regardless of health status or living situation.
Phase 1b Group 2 will include health care workers and frontline essential workers ages 50 and older.
Finally, Phase 1b Group 3 will include health care workers and frontline essential workers of any age.
Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina has continued the statewide eviction moratorium through Jan. 31.
The moratorium offers protection to renters, preventing landowners from evicting them for being unable to pay rent.
“This holiday season, too many families are struggling to pay rent as the pandemic surges,” Cooper said in a recent statement.
Cooper also drew attention to the latest recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The federal government is now recommending that people over the age of 65 and people with underlying health conditions to avoid any indoor locations with people who are not wearing masks.
These people are also strongly encouraged to get groceries and medications deliver to their homes to limits exposure.
North Carolina case numbers
In North Carolina, about 3,339 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus as of 1:25 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The cumulative number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina is at least 532,830, and 6,729 people have died. 487,967 are molecular positive cases, and 44,863 are antigen-positive cases.
8,551 new cases were reported on Wednesday, a new record for the state.
NCDHHS says that 14.8% of daily coronavirus tests conducted since the last report have been positive. To calculate daily percent positive NCDHHS only uses molecular test results from laboratories that report both positives and negatives through electronic laboratory reporting in NC COVID.
North Carolina vaccination plan
Below is the full breakdown of phases in the state vaccination plan.
Phase 1A: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 & Long-Term Care staff and residents.
- Health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19, including staff responsible for cleaning and maintenance in those areas
- Health care workers administering vaccine
- Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes.
Phase 1b: Adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers.
There is not enough vaccine for everyone in this phase to be vaccinated at the same time. Vaccinations will be available to groups in the following order.
- Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation
- Group 2: Health care workers and frontline essential workers 50 years or older
The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.
- Group 3: Health care workers and frontline essential workers of any age
Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness.
Vaccinations will happen by group in the following order:
- Group 1: Anyone 65-74 years old, regardless of health status or living situation
- Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
- Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
- Group 4: Essential workers not yet vaccinated.
The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.
Phase 3: Students
- College and university students
- K-12 students age 16 and over. Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.
Phase 4: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.
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