R.N. Lucy O’Neal, gives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Ocracoke Health Center’s vaccine clinic April 13. All residents who want a vaccine need to call the health center on Thursday, April 22, to get in on the last shots available. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Connie Leinbach

The Ocracoke Health Center today is urging all residents age 18 and over on Ocracoke who want a COVID-19 vaccine to call on Thursday (April 22) as the last first-dose vaccines for a while will be administered on Friday.

That number is their COVID-19 hotline: 252-489-3622.

Mandy Cochran, R.N., said that because of the low demand in Hyde County, the batch of vaccines here now will be the last for a while.

“Friday will be the last day we’re administering first doses just for the foreseeable future,” she said. “We’re not sure when we’ll be getting more.”

Cochran said when health centers order vaccines from the state, those doses have to be used within seven days.

“There’s currently just not enough demand on Ocracoke,” she said, and there’s not enough demand on mainland Hyde nor the surrounding counties. “There’s a chance that in the coming weeks that we will have some on hand but right now we are not going to have any more first doses.”

If the health center receives more vaccines, they would likely come via the federal government program to which the center is applying, she said.

So far, Ocracoke has administered about 1,300 shots, or to about 650 people, though not all of those people are from Ocracoke, she said.

She said the health center has been calling its patients aged 18 to 21 to get vaccinated.

“We’ve been trying,” she said. “So, if anybody still wants a vaccine, please call me tomorrow.”

According to the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, 3.65 million people in North Carolina have received first doses of a two-dose vaccine and 2.7 million people have been fully vaccinated.

To date, the state has administered over 6.5 million vaccines; 47.1 percent of adults aged 18 and over are at least partially vaccinated; and 35.8 percent are fully vaccinated.

More than 76 percent of people 65 and older have had at least one shot. 

According to the weekly totals, 386,295 vaccines were administered the week of April 12 and 67,309 doses were given the week of April 19.

The dashboard also shows that 1,963 new COVID cases were reported today; 1,200 reported on Tuesday; and 1,380 reported on Monday.

Hyde County health department reported on Friday that Hyde has 22 active COVID-19 cases up from 18 as of April 9.

The NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard reports 97 total cases for Ocracoke.

Nevertheless, Gov. Roy Cooper in a press briefing today noted stable trends and vaccination success and said the state may lift mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1.

“Although we are making progress, we haven’t beaten COVID-19 yet,” he said. “Vaccination is the best way to beat this pandemic, protect one another, boost the economy and make it possible for restrictions to be lifted.” 

The state anticipates lifting the mask mandate and easing other public health recommendations, once two thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose and if trends remain stable.

Cooper plans to issue an executive order next week outlining safety restrictions for the month of May.

Cooper said businesses should continue to follow voluntary health recommendations and North Carolinians should continue to take safety measures in order to boost the economy, keep children in schools and protect each other.

Those measures include the Three Ws: wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released statistics showing that North Carolina is among the states with the fewest deaths and fewest job losses per capita.

The Hyde County COVID-19 case count as of April 16, 2021.