NC Covid-19 restrictions Jan 2021

As+Covid-19+continues+to+spread+in+North+Carolina%2C+restrictions+are+increasing.++Curfews%2C+public+gatherings%2C+and+public+schools+are+all+being+effected.

Jakayla Toney

As Covid-19 continues to spread in North Carolina, restrictions are increasing. Curfews, public gatherings, and public schools are all being effected.

Dany Nafatyuk, Editor and Webmaster

Sadly, having finally reached the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, COVID-19 is one thing that we have most undoubtedly not left behind.

At the beginning of the year, on the day after New Year’s day, North Carolina had its second-highest spike with almost 16,000 recorded cases, rivaled only by the day right after Christmas, which reached 16,719 new cases.

In late January, Governor Cooper yet extended the requirement that people stay at home from 10 p.m.- 5 a.m. (except for essential services), now going through the end of February, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has published a directive advising essentially the same thing. Since Oct. 2nd, North Carolina’s Phase 3 coronavirus restrictions have been extended four times.

Happily, there is some good news to report; hospitalizations have dropped day after day for the past 14 days, as have case reports for North Carolina and Mecklenburg county. The positive test rate is now 5.6 percent, down from 13.9 percent at the beginning of the month, but the government has said that it still needs to be brought down to at least 5% to slow the virus’s spread meaningfully.

In addition, COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina, at the time of writing, have reached 9,841, an increase of 684 from the previous week. Even though that’s a death rate worse than the one we had for most of 2020, it’s only about half the number of people who died during the previous week.

As for the vaccine, appointments for people over the age of 75 to receive the vaccine have been booked to maximize the possible impact. Both UNC Health and Duke Health said appointments are booked solid throughout the week, and the Orange County Health Department’s two clinics on Thursday and Friday are also available to use. Thus far, 1,390,947 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina.

Vaccinations began in mid-December, beginning with hospital workers and residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Under phase 1b (which refers to phases of the vaccine rollout, not lockdown stages), vaccinations are now going to those over 75, followed by frontline health care workers and essential workers over 50 frontline health and essential workers of any age. The minimal vaccine supply means only seniors are currently eligible to be vaccinated.

Charlotte Rescue Mission has been forced to halt admissions at a men’s center due to a coronavirus outbreak. At least 21 coronavirus infections have been linked to the Charlotte Rescue Mission. The explosion comes as many shelters, such as the Salvation Army Center of Hope, have taken steps to limit the disease’s spread.

A troubling bit of news to happen recently is that the first case of the COVID-19 variant from Denmark called “Cluster Five” has been identified in North Carolina. It has been traced back to Danish farmed minks, said World Health Organization. To date, Colorado is the only other state with Cluster Five variants, with three cases.

NCDHHS has released two tools to help with vaccinations. The first, the Find a Vaccine Location search tool, allows members of the public to enter their location to locate nearby vaccine providers. The second, the Find My Vaccine Group, goes through a few questions for the user to figure out which vaccine group they belong to and register for notification when that group can get vaccinated.