By DEUCE NIVEN
Less than a week after scrapping curfew from North Carolina’s COVID-19 executive orders, Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced an accelerated timetable for vaccinations, with individuals in Group 3 eligible effective Wednesday, and some in Group 4 able to begin signing up in three weeks.
Meanwhile, the rate of coronavirus associated deaths and newly confirmed infections has been stable in Columbus County during the past week, and has declined in Horry.
This post will cover these topics and may be updated:
- Group 3 COVID vaccine appointments start Wed. in CC
- Coronavirus deaths, cases mostly stable in Columbus
- Virus numbers decline in Horry
Group 3 COVID vaccine appointments start Wed. in CC
More frontline essential workers become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, and both the Columbus County Health Department and Columbus Regional Healthcare are set to begin taking appointments.
Gov. Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said the expedited timeline follows approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to the state during a news briefing in Raleigh.
“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” said Gov. Cooper. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”
Appointment lines at the Columbus County Health Department will open at 8 a.m. Wednesday, those at Columbus Regional Healthcare will begin taking calls at 9 a.m.
Call the health department at 910-640-6615 Ext. 7072 or 7074. Call Columbus Regional at 910-642-1554.
Those appointments will be for later this week, and likely into next week, health department spokesman Daniel Buck said. Both he and CRHS spokesperson Stephanie Miller said appointments will be made until all expected doses are spoken for, and that’s likely to happen Wednesday.
Eligible – Those already eligible under Group 1 and 2 guidelines, including people 65 and older and healthcare workers, may still call for appointments. Those eligible in Group 3, effective Wednesday, include:
- Farm workers
- Migrant farm/fishery workers
- Food distribution and supply chain workers
- U.S. Postal Service and other shipping workers
- Court workers
- Elected officials
- Homeless shelter staff
- Veterinarians, veterinarian staff and veterinarian students
- Public health workers
- Social workers
- Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services workers
- Law enforcement
- Corrections workers
- Security officers
- Public agency workers responding to abuse and neglect
- Public transport workers
- Division of Motor Vehicles workers
- Transportation maintenance and repair technicians
- Workers supporting highway infrastructure
Coronavirus deaths, cases mostly stable in Columbus
A half-dozen Columbus County residents have died of COVID-19 complications in the week ending Tuesday, another 141 confirmed with the virus, data from the NC Department of Health and Human Services shows.
That’s largely stable from the previous week, when seven coronavirus deaths and 134 newly confirmed infections were indicated by DHHS.
That brings loss of Columbus lives to COVID during the pandemic to 146, with 5,861 residents confirmed as contracting the virus, the DHHS data showed.
Zip Code data indicated two of the newly confirmed deaths were residents of the Whiteville area, one each from Tabor City, Chadbourn and Cerro Gordo, with no indication on the sixth fatality.
Whiteville again had the most newly confirmed COVID cases for the week ending Tuesday, 57, the DHHS Zip Code data showed, followed by Tabor City and Chadbourn with 21 each, the rest of the county’s Zip Codes in the single digits.
COVID-19 deaths, cases, and hospitalizations have been steadily declining, both Gov. Cooper and Dr. Cohen said Tuesday.
North Carolina reported 1,239 new COVID infections Tuesday and 34 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 863,409 and 11,288 respectively.
Statewide 1,353 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number down up by 34 from Monday, the first daily increase reported since Feb. 16..
Virus numbers decline in Horry
Death and case numbers related to COVID-19 were down sharply in Horry County for the week ending Tuesday, data from South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control data showed.
Six Horry residents were confirmed to have died of coronavirus associated illness during the week, down from 16 the previous week.
Four of the five who died were described as middle aged, two elderly, those dates of death on Feb. 16, 17, 19, 22, 23, and 24.
There 488 newly confirmed virus cases in Horry for the week, compared to 691 the previous week, the DHEC data showed.
Thirty of those newly confirmed cases came from the Loris area, two from Green Sea, Zip Code data from DHEC showed.
South Carolina has recorded 445,523 COVID cases during the pandemic, 7,606 deaths, those numbers up by 496 and 13 respectively since Monday.
Statewide 706 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number down by 19 since Monday.
Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.