Gov. Roy Cooper to give second COVID-19 update of the week at 2 p.m. Thursday

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced at a media briefing that all adults will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines beginning April 7.

Thursday's announcement marks the third time the administration has moved up the calendar for eligibility, and the changes also affect the second phase of Group 4, which can now sign up for appointments starting March 31.

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Gov. Roy Cooper announces expansion of vaccine eligibility.



Cooper said almost 4.3 million doses have been administered in North Carolina and almost a third of adults have received at least one shot. A fifth of North Carolina residents are fully vaccinated, the governor said.

1:18 p.m.
NCDHHS reports 2,112 new COVID-19 cases in the state. The daily percent positive stands at 4.2%, below the state's desired target of 5%. More good news -- hospitalizations fell below 1,000, coming in at 945.

In all, there have been 11,987 COVID-19-attributed deaths in North Carolina.

12:42 p.m.
Sampson County reports 49 new COVID-19 cases in the past three days for a total of 7,457. Two additional deaths were noted. There have been 99 deaths countywide since the startof the pandemic.

The health department will hold a vaccination event at the Sampson Agri Expo Center, 414 Warsaw Road in Clinton from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Friday.

Second doses will be provided from 9 a.m-11 a.m. to those who received their first dose on Feb. 27.

First doses will be provided from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. to anyone 18 years and older who has not received any vaccine in the previous 14 days

12:07 p.m.
Thirty-nine community health centers in North Carolina will receive $161,988,125 in American Rescue Plan funding to support COVID-19 vaccination and services for vulnerable populations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced.

The funding will be awarded beginning in April by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Health centers will be able to use the funds to support and expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver needed preventive and primary health care services to those at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers' operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units. This investment will help increase access to vaccinations among hard-hit populations, as well as confidence in the vaccine by empowering local, trusted health professionals in their efforts to expand vaccinations.

"Every American should have the security of knowing they have access to quality, affordable health care, especially as we face a pandemic that has exposed the disparities facing rural, minority, and lower-income communities," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "The Biden Administration is committed to getting help to those who need it most, and the communities hit hardest by COVID-19 will benefit from these critical investments."

9:25 a.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced he will hold a second COVID-19 news conference this week.

The governor will be joined at 2 p.m. by other members of the state's Coronavirus Task Force to give a public update.

You can watch that update live in the above video player.

Cooper last gave a COVID-19 update Tuesday. That's when he announced that the state would be rolling back capacity limits and other COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday.

Cooper also hosted a press conference Wednesday releasing his budget proposal. You can learn more about that here.

THURSDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Health experts say the United States is close to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, but we're not there quite yet.

At least 16 states are reporting a spike in cases, and officials warn the next few weeks and months will be crucial in the fight against the virus.

The Biden administration plans to ship 27 million more vaccine doses this week--that's 5 million more than the previous week.

So far, more than 85 million people in the US have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That's about 26 percent of the population.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

WEDNESDAY
4:34 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports seven new cases for a total of 5,122 total positive COVID 19 cases. Deaths countywide remain at 103.

3:30 p.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced a new phone service helpline for family caregivers in North Carolina caring for those with Alzheimer's or dementia.

The Caregiver Navigator, a service of Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty), is a first port of call for caregivers with unmet needs. Caregivers, professionals and the general public can call the Caregiver Navigator toll-free at 844-728-0191 from anywhere in the state to get answers to questions.

1:30 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 2,098 new COVID-19 cases.

Throughout the state, 40 more have died from the virus. This brings the death total to 11,894 since the pandemic began.

There are 25 more COVID-19 patients in North Carolina hospitals. There are currently 981 people being hospitalized in North Carolina.

The state is reporting a percent positive rate of 6.1%.

9:40 a.m.
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than white Americans to have experienced job and other income losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those who have lost income are more likely to have found themselves in a deep financial hole. The poll finds that 62% of Hispanic Americans and 54% of Black Americans have lost some form of household income during the pandemic, including job losses, pay cuts, cuts in hours and unpaid leave. That compares with 45% of white Americans.

WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Governor Roy Cooper is going to rollback some of the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in North Carolina.

Cooper announced Tuesday that, starting Friday at 5 p.m., some businesses would be allowed to reopen at 100 percent capacity (with still others getting to increase capacity to 50 or 75 percent depending on what category they fall under).

The announcement comes as North Carolina continues to push ahead with its vaccination efforts. State health leaders are also saying that infection rates and cases in the state continue to decrease.

Meanwhile, in the race to vaccinate, experts say it is important to keep your vaccination card.

The information on the vaccination card could be your ticket to getting back to a normal life, according to public health officials.

The cards can eventually be replaced, but for now it's important to keep yours in a safe place.

TUESDAY
5:30 p.m.
Starting Wednesday, the Moore County Health Department will begin offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments to anyone age 18 or older. Appointments will also be available to anyone ages 16-17 if they are accompanied by their legal guardian.

To schedule a vaccine appointment, please call (910) 947-SHOT (7468) between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Health Department's appointment phone line will remain open until all available appointment slots are filled each week. The number of appointment slots will be based on the number of vaccine doses on hand. Appointments will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. An appointment is required for all Moore County Health Department vaccine clinics. Due to volume and vaccine availability, vaccine clinics cannot accommodate walk-ins.

Vaccine clinics will be held at the Moore County Health Department, 705 Pinehurst Ave., Carthage, and at the Moore County Agricultural Center, 707 Pinehurst Ave., in Carthage.

3:39 p.m.
The 4th Fighter Wing Medical Group is hosting a COVID-19 mass vaccine line at the Seymour Johnson Fitness Center for specific groups of authorized TRICARE beneficiaries to include active-duty military, guard and reserve members, military dependents, and military retirees.

On Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to noon, first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered for all eligible persons aged 16 and older. On Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered for all eligible persons aged 16 and older.

On both Thursday and Friday, second doses will be offered for persons who received their first Pfizer vaccine on or before March 5.

2 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions in light of continued vaccination efforts and improving metrics.

The alcohol curfew will be eliminated beginning Friday, which will allow restaurants and bars to sell adult beverages any time they choose.

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The alcohol curfew will be eliminated beginning Friday, which will allow restaurants and bars to sell adult beverages any time they choose.



Moreover, business capacity limits will be reduced -- with some businesses being allowed to reopen at 100 percent capacity.

Cooper said his next Executive Order begins Friday at 5 p.m. as he further eased restrictions across the state.

Another cause for optimism is North Carolina's success with vaccination, Cooper said.

North Carolina is continuing to see "fast and fair vaccine distribution," the governor said. To date, the state has administered over 4.1 million doses. Over 31.7 percent of people 18 and older have received at least one dose, and 18.8 percent are fully vaccinated. Vaccine equity efforts remain a priority, with 18 percent of first doses administered to Black North Carolinians and 8 percent to Hispanic residents last week.

NCDHHS also released updates to the K-12 guidance. Schools should return to in-person instruction to the fullest extent possible while following all public health protocols in the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit. This update aligns with Session Law 2021-4, which Cooper and bipartisan legislative leadership worked on together. Plan A has already been widely adopted across the state as districts, educators and support staff have worked hard to get students back in the classroom.

1:45 p.m.
Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Universal Healthcare North Raleigh at 5201 Clarks Fork Drive.

This is the third outbreak at this facility. The previous outbreaks occurred in July and November.

12:59 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports five new cases for a total of 5,115 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been 103 deaths countywide since the start of the pandemic.

11:50 a.m.
Tuesday's report from the NCDHHS included 1,062 newly-reported COVID-19 cases. There are 954 hospitalizations; 32 more people than yesterday.

The daily percent positive rate was 6.3% and 18 more deaths were reported.

In the state, 11,854 people have died since the start of the pandemic.
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