Duke to require COVID vaccinations for faculty, staff by Oct. 1

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

SUNDAY

5:30 p.m.
Duke University has revised its COVID-19 protocol so that it will now require all faculty and staff to be vaccinated to remain employed come October.

The university said Sunday that, regardless of location, all faculty and staff members will be required to show documentation of their COVID-19 vaccine by 10 a.m. on the first of October.

Despite the requirement, university faculty and staff can still apply for medical or religious exemptions; however, they will still be subject to daily symptom monitoring, weekly surveillance testing and mask-wearing.

According to Duke, more than 91% of its university employees are vaccinated.

Should a member not be vaccinated come October 1 the following will happen:
  • Individuals will be issued a Final Written Warning and placed on administrative leave. Accrued vacation or discretionary holiday time may be used if available; otherwise, the leave will be unpaid.
  • They will have seven days to receive either the one-dose J&J vaccine, or the first dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which has now been granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • If an individual does not receive either the J&J or the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna within seven days after the Oct. 1 deadline, they will be terminated at the end of that seven-day period.
  • Those completing the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will have up to six weeks to provide documentation that they received the required second dose. If the second dose is not administered within the six-week period, the individual will be terminated.


Those who do not comply will not be eligible to be rehired by Duke in the future.

SATURDAY

10 a.m.
Duke Health is hosting a vaccination clinic for ages 12 and up along with a school supply giveaway.

It's happening at New Bethel Baptist Church, 2508 Crest Street in Durham, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

9:30 a.m.
Durham Public Schools announced a special meeting will take place Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. At the meeting, the board will hear COVID safety procedure updates from public health advisors.

FRIDAY
2:40 p.m.

Iconic rock band KISS has postponed its show Saturday night in Raleigh. The group announced that lead singer Paul Stanley has tested positive for COVID-19.

The End of the Road World Tour date at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek does not have a make-up date.

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KISS postponed its Raleigh concert after singer Paul Stanley got COVID-19.



The music venue said the concert is being rescheduled. All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new date once announced.

KISS said everyone on the entire tour, both band and crew, are fully vaccinated.

2:35 p.m.
There will be a pop-up vaccine clinic from 6 to 9 p.m. at Last Fridays in Hillsborough.

Also, in addition to a Monday-Saturday clinic at the Whitted Human Services Center on Tryon Street in Hillsborough, a number of pop-up vaccine clinics are planned during the next two weeks, including the one at Last Fridays.

12:50 p.m.
WakeMed announced it has implemented temporary changes to its visitation policy "in the face of the highly contagious delta variant and overall soaring patient volumes."

"Our capacity management team recognizes the challenges that additional visitors pose to staff and the overall environment - while also working to balance that with providing a patient-centered care environment," a spokesperson said in a statement.

At noon, a revised visitation policy went into effect:

  • Adult inpatients can have up to two visitors in a 24-hour period.
  • Pediatric outpatient and procedural patients can have two support persons. Pediatric inpatients can still have up to four support persons - two at a time at the bedside - in 24 hours.


12:20 p.m.
8,105 new daily COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Friday.

The percent of positive tests in the state is at 12.8%.

3,651 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

That's up significantly from Thursday.

912 adults are in the ICU with COVID-19. That's the highest number the state has seen in the pandemic.

394 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals in the last 24 hours.

47 more deaths were reported on Friday.

12:15 p.m.
University of North Carolina Wilmington said some classes "may temporarily be modified to an alternate format/modality through Sept. 17, 2021" due to "an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 test results."

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. James Winebrake sent an email to students Friday morning with the information.

"If your course modality is approved to change, your faculty will communicate that information to you directly," the email said.

Most Student Affairs social programs, events and activities that do not have a direct academic component will also be moved to a virtual format until Sept. 17.

"We also urge all unvaccinated students to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Only through widespread vaccination will we be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19," the email said.

12:10 p.m.
Beginning Wednesday, the Durham County Department of Public Health will adjust its weekly vaccination schedule to add Thursday clinic hours for all people 12 and older, and it will offer third doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines each day for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

New clinic hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This clinic will remain closed Fridays-Sundays. This will affect only the DCoDPH vaccination clinic located at 414 E. Main St., Durham, NC 27701. Walk-ins and scheduled appointments will be offered for all vaccine doses. To schedule an appointment, call 919-560-9217.

12 p.m.

Unvaccinated people in North Carolina were 15.4 times, or 1,540 percent, more likely to die from COVID-19 during the four-week period ending Aug. 21, 2021. This comes as the state hit a pandemic high on Aug. 26 with 912 adults in the ICU with COVID-19. The number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators also reached a record high at 574.

During the week ending Aug. 21, 2021, unvaccinated people were also 4.4 times, or 440 percent, more likely to catch COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to NCDHHS.

The difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated teens was even greater during the week ending Aug. 21, 2021, with unvaccinated people aged 12 to 17 being 6.3 times, or 630 percent, more likely to get COVID-19 than vaccinated people in the same age group.

North Carolina has been experiencing the fastest acceleration in cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic started, health officials say.

"The vast majority of people dying with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. If you are not vaccinated please don't wait until it is too late," Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "The authorized and approved vaccines have been through rigorous clinical trials and met scientific standards. Millions of North Carolinians have been safely vaccinated."

There were 187 deaths among unvaccinated persons younger than 65, compared with eight deaths among vaccinated persons younger than 65 during the four-week time period. There were 215 deaths among unvaccinated persons older than 65, compared with 67 deaths among vaccinated persons older than 65.

9:05 a.m.
Fort Bragg officials said Survivor Outreach Services received enough boot donations to honor the legacy of Fallen service members since Sept. 11, 2001.

Unfortunately, the memorial boot display and the "Run, Honor, Remember" 5k has been postponed at Fort Bragg in an effort to limit transmission of COVID-19.

FRIDAY
Cumberland County's new mask mandate will take effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

The abatement states: "All persons within Cumberland County shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in indoor spaces to include, (as an example, but not limited to) offices and workplaces, business establishments, private clubs attended by members, public transportation facilities and vehicles, stores for the sale of any goods, restaurants, bars, places for amusement or entertainment, gyms and places for exercise, schools, places of worship, or any place the public is invited or allowed to assemble."

Face coverings are not required by someone who:
  • Should not wear a face-covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance).
  • is younger than 5 years old and a parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face-covering safely on the child's face.
  • is in a private, individual office.
  • is actively eating or drinking.
  • is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible.
  • is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast, or to an audience, where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience.
  • is not in an indoor public space as described in this order.
  • is temporarily removing their face covering for identification purposes to secure government or medical services or at the request of a law enforcement officer.
  • would be at risk of injury from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines.
  • is participating in worship activities for which wearing a face-covering hinders participation.
  • is a child younger than 2.


The Supreme Court's conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court's action late Thursday ends protections for roughly 3.5 million people in the United States who said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August.

Every state in the country is now reporting high community transmission, according to newly updated federal data.

In mid-June, no states were reporting high transmission, and just six states were reporting substantial transmission. Now, ten weeks later, all 50 states have been classified under the concerning red category. Back in June, the delta variant accounted for just 26.4% of new cases. Now, delta accounts for nearly 99% of all new cases.

On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper visited Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro to thank the owner, Gabe Barker, and employees for requiring customers to show their vaccine card or a photo to dine indoors.

"When businesses and employers require vaccines, they are protecting their workers, customers and communities," Cooper said. "Policies like these will get more shots in arms that in turn will boost our economy and get us more quickly to the end of the pandemic."

THURSDAY



6:57 p.m.
You can get vaccinated and watch football on the same day at Saint Augustine's University this weekend.

On Saturday, the Link Up To Stop COVID Vaccination Event will take place at Emery Gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adjacent from the gym, the Falcons' football team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the George Williams Athletic Complex.

Family, friends, and fans are invited to both events.

The vaccination event and football scrimmage are a collaboration between Saint Augustine's University, the Triangle Park Chapter of The Links, Inc., and Advance Community Health. They will provide refreshments and, as an incentive, offer $25 gift cards to the first 25 people who get vaccinated.

The Falcons open the season at home against Tusculum on Sept. 4. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

5 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released new data updating the number of vaccinated North Carolinians who have either gotten sick or died from COVID-19.

According to the data, unvaccinated North Carolinians are 4.4 times more likely to get COVID-19 and--when the data is adjusted for age--15.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated North Carolinians.

Since January 1, 29,683 vaccinated people in North Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19 and 150 have died--5% of cases and 2% of deaths.

Of the more than 4.5 million North Carolinians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, about 6 for every 1,000 people have tested positive for the virus. About 3 in 100,000 people have died.

4:34 p.m.
Cumberland County will have a mask mandate go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously requested that the Public Health Director issue a public health imminent hazard abatement order for a county-wide mask mandate during a special meeting Tuesday. The health director signed the abatement Thursday.

The abatement states "All persons within Cumberland County shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in indoor spaces to include, (as an example, but not limited to) offices and workplaces, business establishments, private clubs attended by members, public transportation facilities and vehicles, stores for the sale of any goods, restaurants, bars, places for amusement or entertainment, gyms and places for exercise, schools, places of worship, or any place the public is invited or allowed to assemble."

Face coverings are not required by someone who:
  • Should not wear a face-covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability (including but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance).
  • is younger than 5 years old and a parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face-covering safely on the child's face.
  • is in a private, individual office.
  • is actively eating or drinking.
  • is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible.
  • is giving a speech or performance for a broadcast, or to an audience, where they maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from the audience.
  • is not in an indoor public space as described in this order.
  • is temporarily removing their face covering for identification purposes to secure government or medical services or at the request of a law enforcement officer.
  • would be at risk of injury from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines.
  • is participating in worship activities for which wearing a face-covering hinders participation.
  • is a child younger than 2.


Signs will be posted in county buildings and can be posted in public places to remind residents and visitors of the mask requirement

The positivity rate of infections in Cumberland County has recently been reported as 15.1% as of Aug. 26. This is almost three times the rate compared to the beginning of July. The positivity rate of infections in surrounding counties is also at a higher rate than what the World Health Organization recommends, which is 5% positivity. They are Harnett at 13.4%, Hoke at 18.6%, Sampson at 13.2%, Bladen at 18.1%, Robeson at 16.3%, compared to the State of North Carolina at 13.5%.

4 p.m
Wake County health officials have identified a third COVID-19 outbreak at the Tammy Lynn Center, a residential care facility at 739 Chapell Drive in Raleigh.

The previous outbreaks occurred in September and December of 2020.

3:40 p.m.
Wake County Public Schools says it is experiencing the unavailability of certain food items because of a nationwide food and supply shortage. In the meantime, the school says it will work to find substitutions or limit its menu in some cases.

The school district also says its bus transportation schedules will improve as students get used to their schedules.

3:15 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper visited Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro to thank the owner, Gabe Barker, and employees for their work to help protect staff, patrons and the community. The restaurant requires customers to show their vaccine card or a photo to dine indoors.

"When businesses and employers require vaccines, they are protecting their workers, customers and communities," Cooper said. "Policies like these will get more shots in arms that in turn will boost our economy and get us more quickly to the end of the pandemic."

Since implementing the vaccine verification policy, Pizzeria Mercato has seen an uptick in business, the governor's office said.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have guided our approach to doing business based around the health and safety of our staff as well as our community. Our vaccination policy that extends to both our staff and guests is only a continuation of that approach to operating," Barker said. "We are and will continue to be a neighborhood restaurant that values and prioritizes the well being of our community."

2:47 p.m.
The Federal Communications Commission announced that it has approved an initial set of 62 applications for funding commitments totaling $41.98 million for Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

Health care providers in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia, including those previously unfunded in Round 1, will use this funding to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. The FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of health care providers to continue serving their patients by providing reimbursement for telecommunications services, information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to health care has proven to be not only a national issue, but also a local issue, and it is imperative that every community is given the tools to access this care as safely and effectively as possible. The FCC is committed to ensuring that every state and territory in the United States receive funding as part of this program," said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "The FCC took action earlier this year to establish a system for rating applications in Round 2, factoring in the hardest hit and lowest-income areas, Tribal communities, and previously unfunded states and territories. Now even more doctors and nurses in every corner of our country can establish or expand telehealth services to support patients and their families."

In North Carolina, Cape Fear Valley Health System was awarded $998,357 to deploy during the pandemic telemedicine carts and devices.

1:26 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department said it has 160 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 6,343 total positive COVID-19 cases since March 2020.

There have been 116 deaths countywide -- 1.84% of cases.

12:56 p.m.
8,620 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina on Thursday.

That's a significant increase from the 6,130 reported on Wednesday and the highest the state has seen since early February.

The percent of positive tests in the state is at 13%.

3,552 people are currently hospitalized in North Carolina with COVID-19.

There are 883 adult COVID-19 ICU patients.

388 confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted into hospitals in the last 24 hours.

WCPSS is considering some new COVID-19 protocols after 140 cases were reported in the first two days of this week. That compares to July, before traditional calendar students went back to school, when WCPSS schools reported 148 positive cases among staff and students for the whole month.

Administrators blamed the more infectious Delta variant for the steep rise in cases.

All schools are now being asked to identify as many indoor -- and outdoor -- eating options as possible. The district is also considering starting regular COVID-19 testing for all student-athletes and employees.

And WCPSS administrators are considering a requirement that everyone wears face coverings indoors and outdoors on WCPSS campuses. That would include recess, athletics and extracurricular activities.

The Durham County Department of Public Health will open its vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to noon to provide walk-in Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccinations for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.

Do you need a COVID-19 booster shot? What you need to know

All people arriving to receive third doses should provide their vaccination cards indicating that they received both doses of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination at least 28 days prior to their third dose.

At this time, booster vaccinations will be available through DCoDPH at the regular vaccination clinic (414 E. Main St., Durham, NC 27701) only.

Per CDC guidance, individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and eligible for booster doses include people who have:
  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response


Wake County Public Health will hold a live virtual town hall at 7 p.m. (WATCH HERE) Experts will answer questions about vaccine safety for pregnant people, those who want to become pregnant in the future and other concerns for expectant mothers.

The CDC recommends that all pregnant people, anyone thinking about becoming pregnant or those breastfeeding get vaccinated against the coronavirus. As of July 31, only 23% of those who are pregnant had received at least one dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, according to CDC statistics. The percentage is even lower among Black and Hispanic/Latino women.

Military service members must immediately begin to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo Wednesday, ordering service leaders to "impose ambitious timelines for implementation." Now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Pentagon is adding it to the list of required shots troops must get as part of their military service. And according to Pentagon data, more than 800,000 service members have yet to get their shots.
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