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NCDHHS secretary: Vaccines will help people ‘get back in control of our lives’

SALISBURY — As COVID-19 vaccinations open for all North Carolinians this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said getting vaccinated will help people “get back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love.”

Cohen and Gov. Roy Cooper spoke during a news conference Tuesday and provided a reminder about vaccine eligibility opening for everyone older than 16 opening today. Cooper said state officials are working on a forecast of what North Carolinians can expect for restrictions or lack thereof by summer and what can be done safely on July 4.

“We remain focused on getting people vaccinated as quickly and as equitably as possible and continuing to slow the spread of the virus,” Cooper said. “The more people we vaccinate, the more we can safely do.”

Cooper said the state remains in a stable position for COVID-19, but it’s important for people not to let their guard down yet because more infectious variants are spreading.

Locally, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported several hundred new vaccines administered, including 640 first doses and 329 people considered fully vaccinated. About 20.7% of Rowan County residents are now considered partially vaccinated and 14.3% of residents are fully vaccinated. Those percentages remain near the bottom of the state’s 100 counties. The numbers from NCDHHS do not include the Salisbury VA Health Care System’s facilities in Charlotte, Salisbury or Kernersville.

Vaccination appointments remain available for the Rowan County Health Department’s drive-thru clinic on Thursday at West End Plaza. Available times started at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. To sign up for an appointment, visit rowancountync.gov/1671/First-Dose-Clinics or dial 980-432-1800 and select option No. 1.

New positives reported Tuesday in Rowan County numbered 13. Across the state, there were just 870 new positives reported.

No new deaths were reported in Rowan County Tuesday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Rowan County’s region (the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition) was 206 on Tuesday. That reflects an increase from 179 the day prior.

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