Stanly County health director presents official vaccine priority list to commissioners

(SOURCE: Statistics provided by the Stanly County Health Department)

ALBEMARLE — At Monday night’s Stanly County Board of Commissioners meeting, Health and Human Services director Dr. David Jenkins gave a substantial COVID-19 update for the county that revealed the health department’s vaccine priority list.  

Jenkins’ presentation to the board contained the official N.C. DHHS coronavirus vaccination tiers, which group the populace into categories based on the stages that vaccines will be administered.  

“We’ve received a lot of calls about vaccinations, because there is a priority for that,” Jenkins said. “Right now, we’re prioritizing what the Department of Health and Human Services calls the 1A group, which is health care workers.” 

Group 1A also includes long-term care staff and residents; meanwhile, adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers both form the DHHS’ Group 1B category. Group 2 is composed of adults who are at a high risk of exposure and increased risk of severe illness, while Group 3 is made up of students.  

The final category, Group 4, includes everyone else who requests a vaccine.  

“Our long-term staff are being handled by Walgreens and CVS, so we’re fortunate to have them take care of our long-term nursing home staff,” Jenkins said. “We’re prioritizing everything outside of the Atrium network as far as our providers in the county — we’ve begun scheduling those folks this week as well as our pharmacists and dentists.” 

Jenkins explained that drive-thru clinic vaccination sessions this week will take place on Jan. 5, 7 and 8 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; the department is hoping to vaccinate as many as 60 people per clinic (located at both the health department in Albemarle and Stanly Community College Crutchfield campus in Locust). 

“What’s tricky about the Moderna is that each vial will allow us 10 vaccines. So once we tap into a vial, we have to make sure there are 10 people readily available to take the vaccine,” Jenkins said. “We don’t want any of it to go to waste because it only has a six-hour time span that it can be put to use.” 

The Stanly County Public Health Command Center, which was activated on March 10, has officially passed the 300-day mark of being in full operation. With that landmark, the health department released its official COVID-19 statistics as of Jan. 4.  

“In week 43, which was last week, we had our highest number of positive cases reported in a week with a little over 400,” Jenkins said. “As we continue to track this data, we’re definitely not trending in the direction we want to, but the data is giving us an indication of where we are. Our expectation is to see an increase in these numbers because of the post-holiday factor of Christmas and New Year’s.” 

Stanly County is sitting at 52,396 completed tests, with 27,489 total residents tested. The number of positive cases is at 4,645, while the current case count is at 902. The number of COVID-19 related fatalities is 93, and COVID-19 related hospitalizations are up to 30. 

Based on last week’s seven-day average, the county has a 10.7% collective positive rate. As far as transmission types documented through tracing, the vast majority have been recorded as contact (2,602) and community spread (1,036).