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COVID-19 Blog: Vaccine appointments booked through Forsyth County Health Department will happen at W-S Fairgrounds

Call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1 for immediate questions.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Get the latest COVID-19 updates from Gov. Roy Cooper and the state task force, health departments, universities, school districts, and more in this story. We'll put North Carolina's COVID-19 numbers in context for you, and explain what it could mean for the reopening process. Call the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 866-462-3821 or 2-1-1 for immediate questions.

SUNDAY, JANUARY, 23, 2021

12:18 p.m. U.S. passes 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 

The U.S. accounts for roughly one of every four cases reported worldwide and one of every five deaths. India has recorded the second-highest number of confirmed cases, at about 10.7 million. 

RELATED: US passes 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19

9:39 a.m. Starting today, all first and second dose vaccine appointments booked through the Forsyth County Health Department will happen at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds' education building.

More than 700 appointments are scheduled for today. Health officials say the goal is to continue increasing the number of people vaccinated each day.

The health department says the move to the fairgrounds will allow them to double the number of people vaccinated a day.

The Forsyth County Health Department filled 4 thousand vaccine appointments Saturday.

The appointments were available for people 65 and older and healthcare workers.

Currently, all appointments are now filled. But the health department says new appointments will be added weekly based on the number of doses they receive from the state.

The site will be open until 4 p.m. Sunday and is open until 6:30 p.m. during weekdays. The fairgrounds site will remain up until June. 

9:30 a.m. Cone Health announced Friday they are forced to reschedule more than 10,000 vaccine appointments.

This comes after the state told Cone Health they would not receive any first doses next week.

It's a domino effect, now thousands of people are uncertain when they will secure a shot.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 2021

10:30 a.m. -- First U.K. COVID-19 variant case identified in North Carolina. Early data suggest that this variant may be more contagious than other variants. Current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against the new variant.

North Carolina health officials say the case was identified in Mecklenburg County.

In the United States, 195 cases of B.1.1.7 had been reported in 21 states as of Jan. 22, 2021.

RELATED: First COVID-19 U.K. variant case identified in North Carolina

6 a.m. -- Chick-fil-A manager 'rescues' COVID vaccination drive-through after computer glitch. The manager of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Carolinas is receiving praise from the town's mayor after lending a hand at a COVID vaccination site following a computer glitch. The restaurant is known for its efficient and well-run drive-throughs, so when manager Jerry Walkowiak saw a local vaccine line struggling, he stepped in to help!

RELATED: Chick-fil-A manager 'rescues' COVID vaccination drive-through after computer glitch

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2021

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health is opening up another set of appointments at 9 a.m. tomorrow for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Education Building. 

The appointment website is Bit.Ly/FCNCCovidVaccine, and 4,000 appointments will be available for Jan. 28-Feb. 2. At this time, Public Health is only accepting appointments for those 65 and older and healthcare workers. 

All appointments on previous days have been booked. Starting on Sunday, Jan. 24, all vaccination appointments with Forsyth Public Health will take place at the Fairgrounds Education Building located at 414 Deacon Blvd (attendees should enter off Deacon Blvd). Vaccination is by appointment only and no walk ups will be accepted. 

This new mass-vaccination site will increase Public Health’s capacity for vaccination from approximately 550 a day, with the goal of ramping up to serve over 1,000 people a day. 

Information provided below from Cone Health

Cone Health will reschedule COVID-19 vaccinations for 10,400 people after the state unexpectedly said it will not supply first-dose vaccine next week to Cone Health.  

People with appointments through Monday, Jan. 25, will receive their vaccinations as planned. These are vaccinations scheduled to be given by Cone Health at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center.

Those whose vaccination appointments are rescheduled will be placed at the top of the Cone Health vaccination waiting list and notified when their appointments can be fulfilled. “We are deeply disappointed that we are forced to delay these essential vaccinations,” says Cone Health CEO Terry Akin. “In order to maintain an aggressive vaccination strategy, we need predictability and regular vaccine shipments from the state as originally promised. I am very unhappy that the state appears to keep changing the rules for vaccination allocation.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services called for all first-dose vaccines to be given by Jan. 25. Cone Health is on track to do exactly that through its major ramp up efforts, including at the Greensboro Coliseum, mobile vaccinations and in partnership with numerous churches and other community-based organizations across our multiple county area. The state assured Cone Health and other health systems that if the Jan. 25 goal was met, future vaccine shipments would be adequate to cover the following week’s scheduled appointments. “Completely contrary to the state’s prior commitment, we were shocked to find out late last night that Cone Health’s allocation for next week is zero”, says Akin.

People with appointments to receive a second dose will receive the vaccine as planned.

As a result of the undependability of the vaccine pipeline from the state, Cone Health will no longer schedule vaccinations until the vaccine is on hand. Regrettably, until further notice, this will cause uncertainty and longer waits for vaccination appointments. We deeply apologize to our communities for this development.

Cone Health will keep the community informed of further developments.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2021 

2:30 p.m -- Davie County Schools offers vaccines for employees. The school district announced Thursday it will offer vaccines to all its employees.

"As one of the county’s largest employers, we have an obligation to our staff, students and community to put forth the needed effort to ensure vaccines are available for our employees," Superintendent Jeff Wallace said.

The first vaccination day for employees will be Jan. 27. The second will be Feb.19. 

1 p.m. -- NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and other COVID-19 task force members will give an update on the state of coronavirus in North Carolina at 1 p.m. Dr. Cohen said the state has increased its vaccination rate since her last update. In the two weeks since then, North Carolina has increased its vaccination rate three-fold compared to the previous two weeks.

Dr. Cohen said it will still be "a number of months before vaccines are widely available to everyone."

The North Carolina Department of Transportation also announced plans to create a program to pay for people's rides to vaccine clinics. Dr. Cohen said it is important for people to have access to the clinics.

Additionally, Dr. Cohen applauded Joe Biden's mask mandate and said she appreciated the federal leadership in creating a consistent message about COVID-19 safety.

Watch the full press conference here:

12 p.m. -- NCDHHS releases latest COVID-19 data

Hospitalizations in North Carolina are staying stable, and we saw our largest dip in hospitalizations yesterday, with Triad hospitals also seeing this trend. 

Statewide percent positive is decreasing but still isn't in the single digits. This metric is higher in Triad counties. 

NCDHHS will have an update on metrics Thursday at 1 p.m.

STATEWIDE DATA

  • NEWLY-CONFIRMED CASES: 7,187
  • PERCENT POSITIVE: 10.3%
  • TOTAL CASES: 698,099
  • CURRENT HOSPITALIZATIONS: 3,666

10:45 a.m. -- North Carolina inmate dies of COVID-19 

NC Department of Public Safety announced an Alexander County inmate died of COVID-19 at a hospital. The inmate was a man in his early-50s with underlying health conditions. He tested positive for the virus on Dec. 30 and was hospitalized the same day. He died on Jan. 20. 

“We continue to work hard to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons. The health and safety of the staff and the offender population continues to be our top priority,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said.

RELATED: Man in Alexander correctional institute dies after testing positive for COVID-19

10 a.m. -- Wake Forest Baptist Health infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl gave an update on the status of COVID-19 in the Triad and the race to vaccinate adults over 65. 

  • Dr. Ohl says to get the most effectiveness out of the COVID-19 vaccine, you need to get both doses. 
  • "We're getting better," Ohl said about the vaccine rollout. He said he wishes they could get more vaccines into arms, but it all depends on the supply. 
  • "Hang in there. It will get better, and it will get better weekly," Ohl said with regard to adults 65 and older having to wait to book a vaccine appointment. 
  • Ohl said WFBH will be tripling the number of vaccines they give to patients in the next 10 days.
  • Ohl said the reason for most vaccine sites not taking walk-in appointments, is so they can thaw the number of vaccines they need for the clinic and have less waste. 

9 a.m. -- Wake Forest Baptist Health has begun scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for current Wake Forest Baptist patients who are age 65 and older, at locations throughout the region. Current Wake Forest Baptist patients age 65 and older may call 336-70-COVID to schedule vaccination appointments.

Updated information is also available through patients’ myWakeHealth accounts and on www.wakehealth.edu/vaccine. Baptist will add online scheduling capabilities in the near future.

COVID-19 vaccinations are by appointment only and no walk-ins are accepted.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021

9:14 p.m. Mayor Allen Joines joined the ranks of the 7500 plus residents who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from the Forsyth County Department of Public Health. 

He was able to qualify when the Governor changed the phase to allow people 65 and older. Joines is 73 years old.

He praised the work of the Forsyth County Department of Public Health and thanked the NC National Guard staff for their support.

1 p.m. -- 'Canes games postponed until Saturday. The NHL announced today that because five Carolina Hurricanes Players are currently on the NHL’s COVID Protocol Related Absence List, the team’s games will be postponed at least through Saturday, Jan. 23.

12:30 p.m. -- North Carolina daily coronavirus update. 

Recent trends:

Statewide and Cone Health hospitalizations remain high but stable, as there have been no major spikes this week.

Newly-confirmed cases Tuesday and Wednesday were the lowest daily counts in nearly three weeks. WFMY News 2’s analysts believe this is likely due, in part, due to slower testing demand during the holiday weekend.

It is taking less time to turn around tests and see results. It now takes less than two days total from the COVID-19 test swab to enter into the NCDHHS’ statewide. database.

Statewide data:

Newly-confirmed cases: 4,058

Percent positive: 11.8%

Guilford County percent positive: 12.7%

Total cases (including presumed recoveries): 684,497

Statewide hospitalizations: 3,881

Cone Health hospitalizations: 251 patients, 79% ICU full

Total deaths: 8,139

Testing turnaround time: 1.9 days

12 p.m. -- A second COVID-19 outbreak has been identified at the long-term care facility Home Place in Burlington. Currently, four cases have been confirmed among three residents and one staff member. 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two laboratory-confirmed cases in a period of 28 days within a congregate living or long-term care facility.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2021

7:30 p.m. - WFMY’s Grace Holland got to look at the first day of coronavirus vaccinations inside the Greensboro Coliseum

Cone Health said 1,034 people were vaccinated by them during Tuesday’s clinic.

7 p.m. - Gov. Cooper visits large-scale vaccine site at UNC Friday Center

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen visited a large-scale vaccine site at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Friday Conference Center to witness health care workers and North Carolinians over age 65 receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The number one priority right now is getting this vaccine administered to North Carolinians as quickly and as equitably as possible,” Governor Cooper said. “I’m grateful for the health care providers working tirelessly to get these shots into more people’s arms and helping us get to the other side of this pandemic.”

In accordance with federal recommendations, the state has given local entities the flexibility to begin vaccinating North Carolinians over the age of 65 and all health care workers who have in-person contact with patients.

North Carolina has significantly increased the pace of vaccinations.

Noon - The North Carolina Department of Public Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) releases latest COVID-19 data

Statewide and Cone Health Medical Center hospitalizations remain high but stable, with no major spikes. 

Newly-confirmed cases across the state both Monday and Tuesday were the lowest daily counts in about three weeks. However, it's important to note that testing is often lower right after the weekend. Testing turnaround time is starting to speed up.

STATEWIDE DATA

  • Newly-confirmed cases: 4,058
  • Percent positive: 11.8%
  • Guilford: 12.7%
  • Total cases (including presumed recoveries): 684,497
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 3,881
  • Cone Health hospitalizations: 251 patients, 79% ICU full
  • Total deaths: 8,139
  • Testing turnaround: 1.9 days

Key updates: 

  • Cone Health is holding a large-scale vaccine event at Greensboro Coliseum on Tuesday. The event is only for those who have made an appointment through Cone Health. Walk-ins will not be accepted. The hospital's goal is to vaccinate 700 people per day in the 65+ group. Appointments have been booked through February. 
  • Gov. Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen will visit a vaccine site at UNC on Tuesday.

11:45 a.m. -- Alamance County Health Department announced it will reopen its COVID vaccine appointment phone line on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Phone lines will be open Monday through Friday during normal business hours, or until all vaccine appointment times fill up. Alamance County is only vaccinating people 75 and older and frontline healthcare workers. 

MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2021

3:40 p.m. - The North Carolina Executive Mansion will be illuminated tomorrow night in remembrance of the lives lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Governor Roy Cooper is inviting other counties and municipalities to join in this memorial by lighting buildings and ringing bells at churches and houses of worship. 

“In the midst of the battle against this pandemic, we continue to mourn the hundreds of thousands of Americans we have lost and send our prayers to the grieving families and friends they leave behind,” Gov. Cooper said. “Please join me in honoring their memories by taking responsible actions to prevent more deaths by wearing a mask, keeping our distance and being smart.”

The memorial will be held at 5:30 p.m. 

3:37 p.m. - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services did not release COVID data today due to the holiday.

3:15 p.m. - Over the weekend newly-confirmed cases each day stayed below 10,000. 

The percent-positive decreased to about 10%. However, Triad counties’ percent positives remained higher.

3:00 p.m. - Cone Health reported 262 hospitalizations for Monday. That’s down from the record of 270 set Jan. 12.

FACTS NOT FEAR

Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the safety measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Abide by the three W's. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands, and waiting at least six feet from another person. You also want to avoid touching your face and make sure to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it away.

WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS website.

NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE 

The state also has a special hotline set up where you can CALL 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also TEXT the keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 for the latest.

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