Up & Coming Weekly

January 05, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1325440

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Page 10 of 24

10 UCW JANUARY 6-12, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NEWS COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Cumberland County by JEFF THOMPSON President-elect Joe Biden says COVID-19 is going to get worse before it gets better. Since he made the remark last month, it has indeed gotten worse in North Carolina and Cumberland County. e number of people hospitalized with CO- VID-19 has reached a new high, according to data reported by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. ere are about 3,200 people hos- pitalized with the virus in the Tar Heel state, more than 100 of them in Cumberland County accord- ing to Dr. Sam Fleischman, Chief Medical Officer of Cape Fear Valley Hospital System. e numbers fluctuate daily. North Carolina's COVID-19 situation has wors- ened since early November as the weather changed. More people are staying indoors, and spreader events increased over the holidays. Health officials have expressed concerns that the number of cases will continue to surge during January. Cumberland County Public Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green continued to stress the importance of limiting contact with people who do not live together and following the 3Ws to prevent another case spike — wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands. Green reported late last month that the county has just shy of 13,000 COVID-19 cases and is now des- ignated as having Red Tier community spread. e color-coded tier alert system uses a combination of three metrics: case rate, the percent of tests that are positive and the hospital impact in the community. Critical is Red, Substantial is Orange and Significant is Yellow. "e public health staff who received the vaccine ... have been on the front lines of this pandemic since March and will continue to work tirelessly to protect our residents," Green said. Currently, Cumberland County is in phase 1A of the vaccination process. Phase 1A aims to stabilize health care workers critical to caring for patients with COVID-19 and includes public health staff members who are responsible for distributing the vaccination. Health Department staff began receiv- ing the vaccine just before Christmas. e Health Department is compiling lists of health care provid- ers who are not affiliated with a hospital or health system and who meet the criteria for Phase 1A. "We know you are tired of the pandemic and want things to return to normal," County Commis- sion Chairman Charles Evans said. He continued to encourage residents to remain vigilant. Green says the safe and effective COVID-19 vac- cine will be available to all who want it, but supplies will be extremely limited at first. e Health Depart- ment is following guidance and recommendations from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on a phased approach to the vaccination process. Officials have not indicted when the vac- cine will be available to the public. Assistant County Manager Sally Shutt says the public should monitor the Cumberland County CO- VID-19 vaccine website for future vaccination plans. Residents can visit the local COVID-19 webpage, which has a list of closures and other information as to test sites. e county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. For more information about Cumberland County visit https://co.cumberland.nc.us/ JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. e number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has reached a new high in the state and in Cumberland County. Contact tracing goes digital due to increase in COVID cases a STAFF REPORT e Department of Public Health reports num- bers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths daily as Cumberland County remains in the Red Tier of the NC County Alert System. is tier signifies critical spread in Cumberland using COVID-19 case rates, the percent of test that are positive and the hospital impact in the area. Due to the significant increase in daily cases, con- tract tracing is expanding to notify people as quickly as possible if they have tested positive for or been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Starting this week, all residents who have pro- vided cell phone or email addresses will receive an automatic text or email message to connect people to follow-up resources and supports. People receiving a text or email will be directed to a secure website that provides additional informa- tion about how to protect themselves and their loved ones, how to get support if needed to safely isolate, and how to contact someone immediately for ad- ditional information. Stark Warning for Older Adults During a press conference on Dec. 30, Gov. Roy Cooper highlighted the new federal COVID-19 task force recommendations for those 65 and older. People over the age of 65 and those with underly- ing health conditions should avoid any indoor loca- tions with people who are not wearing masks and are strongly encouraged to use delivery services to limit exposure. Vaccinations Ongoing in Cumberland A tested, safe and effective vaccine will be avail- able to all who want it, but initial supplies are lim- ited. Currently, Cumberland County is in Phase 1a of the Vaccination Plan. is phase vaccinates public health and health care workers fighting COVID-19 and Long term Care staff and residents. e Cumberland County Health Department and Cape Fear Valley Hospital System began vaccinating Phase 1a residents in mid-December. According to the NC DHHS Dashboard at https://covid19.ncdhhs. gov/dashboard/vaccinations more than 2,500 initial doses have been given in Cumberland County. e NC Department of Health and Human Ser- vices recently adjusted Phase 1b, which is expected to begin early-to-mid January. In Phase 1b, adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers can get vaccinated but there is not enough vaccine for everyone in this phase to be vaccinated at the same time. Following NC DHHS recommendations, vac- cinations will be available to groups in the following order. •Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation •Group 2: Health care workers and frontline es- sential workers 50 years or older •e CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing work- ers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teach- ers and support staff members) as well as childcare workers. •Group 3: Health care workers and frontline es- sential workers of any age Cumberland County residents should monitor the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at www.co.cumberland. nc.us/covid19/ for up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccination. Staying Updated Cumberland County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about CO- VID-19. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a list of COVID-19-related closures and ser- vice changes. e county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Coronavirus contact tracing is expanding to cell phone and email notifications in order to connect people to follow-up resources.

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