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Bladen County hit a record high in active COVID-19 cases today as health care officials around the area began administering vaccines to the public who are 75 years of age or older. The COVID-19 Vaccine Plan implementation started in December of last year, and Phase 1b started this week. 

The Bladen County COVID-19 Daily Update reports locally; there are 272 active cases, 26 deaths, and six related hospitalizations for the county. The North Carolina numbers have increased as well. 

“We have turned the page on a new year – one that we’re hoping will bring better times. But as we know, the virus didn’t disappear at midnight on December 31,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said today. “In fact, in North Carolina, we have seen some of our highest case counts, percent positives, hospitalizations, and ICU bed usage numbers in the past few days. No matter where you live, work, worship, or play, COVID-19 remains a deadly threat, and we must treat it that way.”

“Although this is a difficult time,” Dr. Teresa (Terri) Duncan, Bladen County Health and Human Services Director, said, “There is a lot of excitement and energy today at Bladen County Health Department as we vaccinate some of the most vulnerable population-our, 75-year-old residents. Some of these community members have lived through the polio and measles eras, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war.”

She added, “They know what vaccines can do to prevent death and are eager to get their vaccines.” 

Husband and wife, William and Edith Neal of Reigelwood, took the shot today at the local health department. Both are in Phase 1b, group 1 category, which means they are at least 75 years of age. Bladen County Nurses Janice Robbins and Annette Price assisted the married couple through the vaccination process. 

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As Nurse Robbins explained the precautions, Nurse Price administered the shots. 

Mrs. Neal said, “It was no worse than any other shot. I’m just glad it’s over. I’m ready to get my life back.”

No adverse reactions from the vaccines have been reported locally since the start of the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan.

Chaka Jordan with Cape Fear Valley Health announced their Phase 1b Vaccine Plan was well underway today. 

Jordan said, “We don’t have enough to meet the demand, but we are trying to vaccinate as many as we can instead of letting it sit on a shelf.”

She also confirmed their healthcare workers started receiving their second doses of the vaccine today. 

According to Dr. Duncan, the Bladen County Health Department team is also working as quickly as possible to vaccinate as safely as possible, maintaining social distancing and observing people after their injections for possible reactions. 

Bladen County Emergency Services was on-site throughout the day at the health department to help with the safety evaluation. 

Dr. Duncan also stated the health department would start a hotline tomorrow morning. The COVID Appointment Hotline for Seniors age 75 and older will begin, tomorrow January 7. The Hotline will be available from 9:00 am-4:30 pm. Anyone age 75 or older is encouraged to call this number to get on the list for vaccinations. The Hotline Number is 910-872-6291.

N.C. Army National Guard Brig. General Todd Hunt explained today the National Guard would be assisting with the distribution of the Covid vaccines in North Carolina. Gen. Hunt noted the Guard has already been helping with meal deliveries throughout the state during the Pandemic. Therefore, the National Gaurd would have no issues assisting with the COVID vaccines. 

Governor Cooper extended North Carolina’s Modified Stay At Home Order that requires people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am to last through at least Friday, January 29. Secretary Cohen also issued a Secretarial Directive with stark warnings for North Carolinians to avoid indoor spaces without masks and gatherings between households. Read here for more details on the Secretarial Directive.

“We are in a very dangerous position. North Carolinians need to take immediate actions to save lives, slow the spread of the virus, and protect hospital capacity so that medical care is available to anyone who may need it, whether for COVID-19 or any other reason,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.


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