Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) began vaccinating Pre-K-12 teachers and staff and child care workers ages 45 and older against COVID-19 today, February 26th, during a mass vaccination clinic at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro. The clinic also served individuals in Groups 1 and 2, healthcare workers with in-person patient contact and adults ages 65 and older.
The clinic was run by staff from the Chatham County Public Health Department, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and Chatham County Emergency Management, along with volunteers with the Chatham County Emergency Response Team and the NC National Guard. A team of seven school nurses from Chatham County Schools participated as well, both administering vaccine and drawing doses.
Along with 20 doses administered on Thursday, February 25th, the 560 doses administered on Friday brought the CCPHD’s total to more than 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 since vaccinations began in early January. Well over half of the doses have been given to individuals ages 65 and older.
“We are honored to be able to continue to vaccinate healthcare workers and older adults while also serving Chatham County’s school and child care staff,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “We have all benefited from the hard work and dedication of these teachers and staff, both at the child care and PreK-12 level, and to vaccinate them against COVID-19 is the least we can do to repay them for their service.”
According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) COVID-19 vaccination database, 14,660 Chatham County residents had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through February 25th, accounting for 19.7% of the county’s population. Additionally, 9,551 Chatham residents have received their second dose, representing 12.8% of the population. Both of these percentages are among the highest in the state.
The CCPHD is anticipating receiving 600 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week in the second installment of a three-week guaranteed allocation from NCDHHS. These doses will be used at future vaccination events.
The CCPHD’s upcoming COVID vaccination event schedule includes:
- Monday, March 1: First and second doses for Groups 1 and 2, and first doses for PreK-12 staff and child care workers
- Friday, March 5: Second doses for individuals that received their first doses during the February 5th event at Roberts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Goldston
- Future vaccination events will continue to focus on individuals in Groups 1 and 2, as well as school and childcare staff, until additional groups become eligible.
Given the limited number of doses available, the CCPHD continues to encourage all eligible Chatham residents to consider all options to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers include:
- Piedmont Health Services is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to existing and new patients at its clinic sites in Siler City and Moncure as supply allows. To be placed on PHS’ interest list, please visit piedmonthealth.org/how-can-i-be-tested-for-covid19/. Piedmont is also continuing to conduct COVID-19 testing events.
- UNC Health is offering the COVID-19 vaccination for individuals ages 65 and older, including at its site behind Chatham Hospital in Siler City (Medical Office Building) and nearby options such as Chapel Hill. Interested individuals can visit unchealthcare.org/schedule or call (984) 215-5485 to schedule an appointment when available.
- Walgreens, which has multiple locations in and around Chatham County. Visit walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19.
- Siler City Pharmacy: To request a vaccination appointment, visit silercitypharmacy.com/vaccine-appointments/ or call (919) 663-5541.
- Duke Health, based in Durham, is also scheduling vaccinations when available. To learn more, visit dukehealth.org/covid-19-update/covid-19-vaccine-update or call (919) 385-0429.
- For a full list of options in North Carolina, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/findyourspot.
On Wednesday, February 24th, Governor Roy Cooper announced Executive Order 195, which lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors. The order took effect today, February 26, at 5 p.m. Learn more about the Executive Order here.
The department continues to participate in Community Resource Hubs in conjunction with the Chatham Health Alliance. These Hub events allow attendees a chance to receive information about the COVID-19 vaccine and put their names in the CCPHD’s COVID-19 vaccine database for a future appointment. CCPHD staff and Chatham Health Alliance volunteers partner with churches and community organizations for these events. Locations are chosen with priority given to communities that might have more difficulty accessing health care services, historically marginalized populations, or those with poorer internet access. To date, four such events have taken place, with another scheduled for Saturday, February 27th in Apex. Staff have also given a number of virtual presentations about the COVID-19 vaccine, including its development, safety, effectiveness, and where to get it, to many audiences across Chatham County.
Since reaching a one-day pandemic high of 52 reported cases of COVID-19 on January 11th, Chatham County has seen decreasing numbers of positive tests for the coronavirus. However, cases are still being reported, and four Chatham residents were reported to have died from COVID-19 from February 7-17.
The CCPHD urges all residents to continue to practice the same methods that have been found to be successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19: wearing a face covering in public or when around people not in your household, washing your hands frequently and maintaining six feet of social distance from others.
“The uptake in vaccinations is great news made possible by the ongoing dedication of staff and volunteers,” added Zelek. “The vaccine is very effective at preventing those who get it from becoming sick from COVID-19, but we are not quite ready to fully return to normal activities. Continuing to practice the 3 Ws is still necessary, because the virus continues to take a toll on our neighbors and community.”
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the CCPHD’s vaccination plans, visit chathamcountync.gov/coronavirusvaccine. To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, please visit chathamcountync.gov/publichealth or facebook.com/chathamhealth.