New Hanover County Healthcare Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

New Hanover County Nurse Panza Allen McNeill, RN, BSN, receives the Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine at New Hanover County Public Health, Dec. 22, 2020. The County began issuing the COVID-19 vaccine to front-line workers on December 22nd.  (Photo: New Hanover County). New Hanover County Nurse Panza Allen McNeill, RN, BSN, receives the Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine at New Hanover County Public Health, Dec. 22, 2020. The County began issuing the COVID-19 vaccine to front-line workers on December 22nd. (Photo: New Hanover County).

New Hanover County Healthcare Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 23 December 2020 04:16

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - Healthcare workers on the front lines in New Hanover County began receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday December 22nd.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman explained, "Today is a momentous day for our community and I am grateful to our Public Health team who have been in the forefront, serving our residents since day one of COVID-19. In the coming days, our team will be giving this vaccine to staff and residents in long-term care facilities, who are among the most vulnerable and hardest hit by the virus. This will bring hope to so many and will help us begin to really fight back against this virus."
As of December 22nd,  8,982 COVID-19 cases had been reported in New Hanover County, with 1,384 residents currently infected. One death was reported to Public Health in the previous week, an individual in their 70’s with underlying health conditions. That brings the total number of residents who have died from COVID-19 to 77. The County is currently monitoring seven outbreaks and two clusters of COVID-19 in the community.
According the County officials, Panza Allen McNeill, RN, BSN, was the first person to receive the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in New Hanover County on Tuesday. Allen McNeil has been a nurse with New Hanover County Public Health for 19 years. She has been providing COVID-19 testing to residents, and in the coming days will be providing COVID-19 vaccines in long term care facilities and others outlined in phase one of the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
McNeill explained, "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the fight of our lives, but the arrival of the vaccine gives a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel." She explained, "I am excited, and very honored to be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose in New Hanover County, and I’m ready to continue the fight. My hope is that others will see myself and my colleagues take the vaccine and feel more comfortable making the decision to be vaccinated themselves. I encourage everyone to seek out research and studies on these vaccines and get your questions answered."
New Hanover County Public Health Nurse Oliver Grimsley, RN, also received the vaccine on Tuesday. He has help lead COVID-19 testing in the area and worked with the County for 18 years.
Grimsley explained, "It’s a relief to see my colleagues be vaccinated against this virus that we’ve been fighting for 10 months, and will continue to fight. I’m honored I joined them today in taking this step to move our community forward."
New Hanover County received around 4,800 Moderna vaccines to be administered at long term care facilities and to first responders, healthcare workers and adults age 65 or older with numerous underlying health conditions during the first phase of vaccination.
The County will deploy teams to area facilities during the holiday weekend and the next several weeks to begin the vaccination process with an overall goal of completing all phases of the process in around nine months.
New Hanover County Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko explained, "In the coming months, Public Health will be setting up sites for vaccine administration, many physician offices will eventually have the vaccine to be able to administer, and we will be working with community partners and healthcare providers to ensure we get the vaccine to as many
people who want it. Not everyone will get the vaccine right away, this will take time. So we ask for everyone’s patience and continued vigilance in staying safe and healthy in the meantime."
COVID-19 Status:
New Hanover County had another record day of COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, December 18, with 198 new cases. As of today, 8,982 COVID-19 cases have been reported in New Hanover County, with about 1,384 residents currently
infected. One death was reported to Public Health this week, an individual in their 70’s with underlying health conditions. This brings the total number of New
Hanover County residents who have died from COVID-19 to 77. Public Health officials are currently monitoring seven outbreaks and two clusters of COVID-19 in the community.
County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA explained, "While we celebrate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and see people start to get them, it’s imperative to remember that COVID-19 is still here, and cases are rising. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread. This holiday season especially, keep gatherings to those in your household, and when outside of your home, follow the three Ws to protect yourself and others. We want everyone to see the end of the pandemic, so don’t let a moment of poor judgement take that away from someone."
Guidance on testing resources, vaccine information, and ways to celebrate the holidays while slowing the spread of COVID-19 can be found at Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.
The New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center continues to operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Call Center will follow the county’s holiday schedule and be closed Thursday, December 24 through Monday, December 28, open Tuesday, December 29 through Thursday, December 31, then closed January 1, 2021.
New Hanover County Public Health officials are reporting a surge of COVID-19 cases attributed to the Thanksgiving holiday, and were informed of nine additional deaths of residents from COVID-19 this week. This brings the total number of county residents who have died from COVID-19 to 76.
Of the nine individuals reported to have died from the virus, one person was in their 50’s, two in their 60’s, two in their 70’s, three in their 80’s and one in their 90’s. All were considered to be at increased
risk of severe illness because of age or underlying health conditions.
New Hanover County has had eight days this month with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 reported, and the daily case count record was broken twice this week, with 156 new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday and a staggering 198 on Thursday. To date, there have been a total of 8,777 COVID-19 cases in the county, with about 1,645 of those currently infected with the virus.
Public Health is currently monitoring six outbreaks and three clusters of the virus locally, and Public Health officials urge residents to continue protective measures to slow the spread of the virus through the holiday season.
“This recent surge in cases can be attributed to activity over the Thanksgiving holiday – people got together with family and friends that maybe they hadn’t seen in a while, and what this does is it increases your exposure to COVID-19,” said New Hanover County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA in a video message this week. “As you make your holiday plans, please consider staying home and celebrating with members of your household. The holiday season is all about showing how much we care about those
around us and what you can do is take actions now and put protective measures in place to protect yourself, protect the people you love and protect this community. The spread of COVID-19 can be slowed – it can
be done, but one person is not going to do it. It takes a team…together we can make a difference.”

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