covid 19

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This week North Carolina health officials announced  that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be given higher priority for receiving COVID-19 vaccines.   North Carolina Health News editor Rose Hoban has been following this story and shared details with BPR’s Helen Chickering  during their weekly check-in. 

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BPR is answering listener queries about the Coronavirus in a new segment –Talk to Us: COVID Questions.  BPR’s Helen Chickering brings us this week’s answer.

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Mar. 1

Mar 1, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Feb. 22

Feb 22, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app.

Photo courtesy of Christina Dougherty


Schools in Buncombe County welcome students back this week for the first time since December.  Those who have not opted for all remote instruction will be in-class in-person two days a week.  Preparation for their return extends beyond the classroom.

Atrium Health

North Carolina is opening up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for more people, including prekindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodial and child care center employees beginning Feb. 24.

Atrium Health

Gov. Roy Cooper said on Tuesday that state officials will make an announcement this week with specific dates for when frontline essential workers, the next group slated for vaccination, can begin to schedule vaccine appointments. The state is currently vaccinating those in the first two groups of its vaccine plan: health care workers, people who live or work in long-term care facilities and people ages 65 and older.

Atrium Health

In recent weeks, thousands of people have crowded stadiums and arenas in Charlotte for COVID-19 vaccines. But mass vaccination events like the one at the Charlotte Motor Speedway or Bank of America Stadium don’t help seniors who are confined to their homes because of a disability or illness, those with sensory issues or those who don’t have access to transportation.

Travis Long/Tlong@Newsobserver.Com / The News & Observer / NC Department Of Public Safety

WNC COVID-19 Updates: Week Of Feb. 1

Feb 1, 2021
Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Looking for information about where to get vaccinated near you?  North Carolina Health News has a comprehensive listing of county vaccines sites, which will be updated often. Find it here.

Need a ride?  NCDOT and NCDHHS have distributed funding to help pay for transportation. Check with your local transit agency for more details.  You can find your agency online  NC_public_transit.pdfOpen PDF 

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at voices@bpr.org or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app.

NC Department Of Public Safety

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday extended a trio of executive orders allowing for curbside alcohol sales, a halt to evictions and a requirement for people to remain at home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines unfolds in the U.S., numerous questions around distribution, supply, hesitancy and efficacy persist. The stakes are high, as numbers of deaths and cases break records. A panel of experts from Harvard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tackles questions about COVID-19 vaccination.

Arne Müseler/ arne-mueseler.com

Buncombe County administered its first COVID-19 vaccines Monday under Phase 1B, where anyone over the age of 75 is eligible to receive one. Prior to this, healthcare workers, first responders, and congregate living facility residents received the vaccine. 

Claire Donnelly / WFAE

It was difficult to find a quiet spot Tuesday afternoon in the paved lot next to Caldwell UNC Health Care in Lenoir as dozens of people rushed to meet a deadline.

A man in a blue surgical mask sawed two-by-fours. A woman wheeled two computer carts wrapped in plastic. In the middle of all of the action stood 11 white plastic tents. Melissa Strickland pulled open the flap on one of the tents and stepped inside the state’s first COVID-19 field hospital.

Vaccinations are rolling out across Western North Carolina. Mission Health is the latest to start  administering the COVID vaccine to at risk health care workers.  The system received just under 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.  Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville started giving the shots on Tuesday (12/15)and  Cherokee Indian Hospital – on Wednesday.   The shots arrived as the state continued to see record case numbers and hospitalizations. BPR’s Helen Chickering checks in on the metrics and vaccines with North Carolina with NC Health News editor Rose Hoban. 

NC Department Of Public Safety

North Carolina is preparing to receive 175,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine next week if it receives FDA approval in the coming days, but Gov. Roy Cooper said he has asked the federal government for more time to determine which hospital and health systems receive shipments of the vaccine each week.

Atrium Health

A Charlotte doctor on Monday became the first person in North Carolina to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Atrium Health. In a video posted to Twitter, the hospital system's Medical Director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Katie Passaretti, said she was the first to get the shot.

"I couldn't be more excited. I feel perfectly fine. I've had no issues with the vaccine," Passaretti said in the video.

Steve Harrison / WFAE

American Airlines and other aviation groups say their employees are critical to distributing a vaccine and should be among the first groups to receive it.

Cooper Revamps NC Mask Mandate, Maintains Occupancy Limits

Nov 24, 2020
North Carolina Department Of Public Safety / Flickr

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Monday with tough language on enforcing the statewide mask mandate, but little action on limiting business activity that has contributed to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent months.

The newly reelected Democrat said he does not want the state to go "backward" by shutting down businesses or schools. Instead, he's holding out hope that increased compliance with existing health guidelines will stabilize the worsening trends.