RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.
The Johnston County Health Department has scheduled a Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday or until supplies last at the Johnston County Public Health Department, 517 N. Bright Leaf Blvd. Both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be available.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free to all.
Vaccinations will be administered on an appointment or walk-in basis until capacity has been reached.
The Lee County Government Health Department has opened the scheduled Wednesday COVID-19 Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic to onsite registrations for first come, first serve.
The clinic will take place at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center from 9 a.m. until noon.
The Civic Center is at 1801 Nash St. in Sanford. All vehicles must enter off Nash Street approaching from the East in the direction of Broadway Road. Vehicles that attempt to enter from the West will be rerouted.
The Health Department will be administering first and second dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. People who need their second-dose vaccine are reminded to bring their vaccination record cards.
You can register by calling (919) 842-5744 or to register in Spanish, call (919) 718-4640 option 8.
The Halifax County Health Department reports just two new people for a total of 5,486 positive COVID 19 cases. There have been 109 deaths in the county -- 1.98% COVID-19 related deaths.
The CDC issued updated guidance on wearing masks outdoors Tuesday, with new recommendations that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask unless they are in a crowd of strangers.
The CDC still recommends wearing a mask on for any crowded outdoor events like concerts, parades and sporting events.
A total of 1,148 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Tuesday. That number is low compared to the 7-day average, but the number of tests completed was also low.
In all, 1,103 are hospitalized in the state with COVID-19.
The percent of positive tests is at 7.5 percent.
In North Carolina, 30.5 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated, and 38.8 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
North Carolina Central University will offer both first and second dose Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines by walk-in or appointment on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Merck announced a deal with five makers of generic drugs in India to produce molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral similar to the COVID-19 medicine remdesivir but in a more convenient pill form.
Late-stage testing of the drug just started in the United States, and it's unclear when the medicine might be used in India or elsewhere. A mid-stage study gave encouraging results, suggesting the drug quickly reduced virus levels when used early after infection.
Remdesivir is widely used for certain hospitalized patients but must be given as an infusion, which limits its use.
Molnupiravir, a pill that Merck is developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has shown wide activity against many types of respiratory viruses, according to Dr. George Painter, an Emory University professor who helped discover it.
"It's my assumption that those generic drug manufacturers who have enormous capacity either have this on hand or will make it quickly," he said.
The White House says the U.S. will begin sharing its entire stock of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines with the world once it clears federal safety reviews. As many as 60 million doses are expected to be available for export in the coming months. The move greatly expands on the Biden administration's action last month to share about 4 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and Canada. The AstraZeneca drug is widely in use around the world but has not yet been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The White House is increasingly assured about the supply of the three vaccines being administered in the U.S.
TUESDAY MORNING HEADLINES
Updated guidance about when you should wear a mask outdoors is expected to be released today.
Sources say the guidance relates specifically to if fully vaccinated people need to wear masks outdoors. The guidance comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but President Joe Biden is expected to be the one announcing the guidance.
The specific language of the guidance is not known. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci hinted over the weekend that the guidance would include a loosening of restrictions, saying the CDC will be "updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do and even some who are not vaccinated."
Biden has previously said he hoped outdoor gatherings would be possible by July 4. North Carolina leaders have said they will consider lifting portions of the mask mandate in June.
Meanwhile, Wake County Public Health will resume the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine this week. Last week the FDA and CDC lifted the pause on use of the vaccine after determining the risk of blood clots was so low that the benefit of the vaccine outweighed it.
Wake County has 7,900 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The first clinics of the single-shot vaccine will happen Thursday and Friday at Ting Park in Holly Springs.
Wake County will resume usage of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine later this week.
Last Friday, state and federal agencies reaffirmed their confidence in the J&J vaccine following a brief pause.
Triangle clinics resume use of Johnson and Johnson vaccine after brief pause
Wake County has 7,902 doses of the vaccine in storage at this time. The first J&J clinics are planned for Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ting Park in Holly Springs.
"As with everything we have done in the past, we want to offer the choice of J&J for those who are seeking that unique one-shot vaccine," said Ryan Jury, Wake County Public Health's Vaccine Branch Director. "Safety during and after vaccination are very important to us. Health and safety have always been a guiding principle for Wake County Public Health."
Lee County health officials are reporting 75 more COVID-19 cases since last Monday. There have been a total of 76 deaths from the virus in Lee County since the pandemic began.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,334 new COVID-19 cases.
The state is reporting a 6.5% positive test rate.
Throughout North Carolina, 78 fewer people are being hospitalized for the virus. There are currently 1,067 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in the state.
On Monday, the state reported 37 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 12,560.
As of Monday, 48.2% of the adult population in North Carolina is vaccinated with at least one dose.
Updated mask wearing guidance expected to be announced today