ONLINE JANUARY 14, 2021 • VOL. 3,
Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter
unless otherwise noted
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It didn't take long for folks lining up at West Johnston High School Tuesday morning to exhaust the 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine dispensed by the Health Department. (Screen capture from the county's Facebook page)
Hospitalizations at highest number yet;
vaccination opportunities are increasing
The Johnston County Public Health Department reports 976 new cases over the past week. The number of Johnstonians hospitalized for COVID-19 has climbed to 85, the highest total since the pandemic arrived 10 months ago.
The good news is that vaccines are finally getting out to the public at large, starting with anyone over age 75.
Johnston's Health Department conducted its first drive-thru vaccination clinic on Tuesday at West Johnston High School and a second clinic this morning (Thursday) at North Johnston High School. Supplies were limited to first-come, first-served.
UNC Health began offering vaccines to older adults on Monday at several clinics that required appointments (no walk-ins or drive-ups). "We expect those appointments will fill up quickly, but we will post more (opportunities) as they become available --- based mostly on the supply of vaccine that we receive," UNC Health's Suzette Rodriguez told the Sun.
Anyone 75 and older is asked to check with YourShot.org. for the latest information about the UNC Health vaccination clinics.
To get the most up-to-date information on your phone about the Health Department's vaccination opportunities, text "COVIDJOCO" to 888777.
VIEW the Health Department's latest list of vaccination sites>
The county's mid-week report shows 2,506 active COVID-19 cases here:
2,421 recovering at home plus 85 in hospitals. That total is down 340 from a week ago. At the same time, 8 more coronavirus-related deaths were recorded here this past week, bringing total fatalities among Johnstonians since last March to 131.
Current outbreaks at Smithfield's nursing and rehabilitation centers:
Barbour Court --- 107 current/former residents, 57 staff members, 7 deaths.
Smithfield Manor --- 113 current/former residents, 45 staff members, 10 deaths.
The Landings ---22 current/former residents, 10 staff members, 4 deaths.
VIEW the current list of COVID-19 testing sites in all of Johnston County>
CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK SHUTS DOWN JOHNSTON'S COURTS
Resident Superior Court Judge Tom Lock and newly appointed Chief District Court Judge Paul Holcombe canceled all criminal and civil court sessions in Johnston County this week after Clerk of Court Michelle Ball reported on Monday that her office "may be experiencing a cluster of COVID-19 cases," according to a memorandum issued by Judge Lock.
"We will decide about next week's courts later this week," he said.
While the main Clerk of Court office in the newer section of the Courthouse was closed by the threat, the clerk's estates and special proceedings division remained open inside the old part of the Courthouse.