State officials announced this week that residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first in North Carolina to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In Forsyth County, the virus is hitting these facilities especially hard.
Twenty-two county residential care and nursing home facilities are currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services. Only Mecklenburg County has reported more than Forsyth.
About 50% of the county's COVID-19 related deaths are connected to long-term care settings. Statewide, that number is closer to 40%.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state's secretary of Health and Human Services, said at a press conference Thursday that's why residents and staff of these facilities are being prioritized when it comes to vaccine distribution.
“We want to give it to our health care workers who are actually being exposed to COVID, as well as in our long-term care settings," she said. "That has been a place where we have some of our most medically frail folks as well as difficulty keeping virus out of those congregate settings.”
Cohen says health care workers will get the vaccine as soon as the state receives its first shipment, likely around December 15. Vaccinations at long-term care facilities could begin the following week.
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