I have deleted my post about the terrorist mob storming the U.S. Capitol today in order to prevent the peaceful transfer of power at the highest level of our government. What happened today and what is continuing to happen sickens me. I may take sick leave, but before I do, I will report:
Earlier today Governor Roy Cooper held a COVID-19 update briefing in which he announced the extension of the modified stay-at-home order in North Carolina by three weeks, which means that the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Jan. 29.
Also at the briefing, Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, announced the issuance of a Secretarial Directive in which she advised people to stay home and only leave for essential activities, such as going to work or school, buying groceries, or attending to healthcare needs; to wear a mask at all times and to maintain six feet of physical distance from people whenever they are outside of their homes; to avoid gatherings with people who are not in their households; and to take other immediate actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
People who are age 65 or older, or who are at high-risk for developing serious illness, the Secretary advised, should arrange to have their groceries, medications, and other essential supplies delivered to them.
See the Secretarial Directive at: KM_227-20210105173141 (nc.gov)
Governor Cooper said that statewide COVID-19 metrics, which have dramatically escalated since early November, “paint a dark and difficult picture,” and continued to propound that “prevention is our best weapon.”
Secretary Cohen called the latest counts for new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and emergency-room visits for COVID-19-like symptoms “astonishingly high” and noted, with alarm, that they do not yet reflect the “full impact of the [Christmas] holidays.”
Today the NCDHHS dashboard reported 6,952 new COVID-19 cases, 3,893 hospitalizations, and a positivity rate of 17.8 percent. Both the number of hospitalizations and the percentage of positive tests are record highs.
There is “an alarming amount of virus everywhere in our state,” said Secretary Cohen. Both she and Governor said “getting the vaccine out quickly” is the State’s most urgent priority.
They also expressed disappointment that many people in Prioritization Phase 1A, such as staff at long-term care facilities, have declined to receive the vaccine.
According to the NCDHHS’s COVID-19 County Alert System, which was updated today, 96 of North Carolina’s 100 counties are currently in the “red” or “orange” zone for COVID-19 spread, signifying critical or substantial spread, respectively. Eighty-four of them are in the red, including Dare County.
“We are in a very dangerous position,” Governor Cooper said.
The COVID Data Tracker of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this morning that North Carolina has received 498,450 doses (4,753 per 100,000) of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines thus far, and has vaccinated 137,198 (1,308 per 100,000) people with first doses. Second doses of vaccine reportedly arrived in North Carolina this week.
Secretary Cohen said several times during today’s briefing, as she has in the past, that vaccine supplies in North Carolina “are very limited and people may need to wait.” The Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services has stressed the same message.
The Governor has mobilized the N.C. National Guard to help local health departments with administering vaccinations statewide. The Guard is sending out six-person teams to assist: Two team members will be able to administer vaccinations, while the other four will help with logistics.
The Secretary said that the NCDHHS has allocated all of the vaccine supply it has received to local health departments, but some counties are having trouble with their distribution.
According to Southern Shores homeowner Ursula Bateman, who received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine, with her husband Bob, at the Baum Center this afternoon, the DCDHHS vaccinated 300 people today. Mrs. Bateman described the vaccination event as “well-handled” and the vaccination itself as painless.
“It was just a prick,” she said, adding that she felt more pain when she was received a pneumonia vaccination.
The DCDHHS has not yet updated its dashboard today for new local COVID-19 cases.
I do not apologize for the passions I expressed earlier or for my refusal to engage in discussion and argument. This is a privately maintained blog of news and editorial opinion, not a publicly funded forum. The First Amendment does not apply to the actions of strictly private parties. It is designed to address government oppression.
There is a dangerous pandemic raging across our country. I have done my best to inform you about it locally and statewide.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 1/6/21