Cooper urges people not to travel, gather to celebrate Christmas
Gov. Roy Cooper and state health and safety officials provide a Dec. 15, 2020, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
As of today, we have had 446,601 cases 2735 people in the hospital. And, sadly, 5881 who have died. I would make particular mention today of my friend made Me Bryant of Gastonia, a kind and wonderful soul who passed away Friday while battling Covad, 19. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and all of those who've lost friends or family members. With the holiday season coming upon us, this is a tough time for people worrying about a sick loved one and especially those who grieve in the loss of someone close. Our prayers are with all of you. There's really hope that we can stop those painful losses. Vaccinations are underway in North Carolina. The first co vid 19 vaccine shipment arrived at 7:20 a.m. Yesterday morning at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. I haven't talked to North Carolina UPS driver Danny Parson, who made that delivery, which was the first in the country. In addition to the three yesterday, eight more hospitals received shipments today and began vaccinating. 42 hospitals will receive shipments on Thursday. I have North Carolina team spent months preparing for this moment, and now we're moving our vaccination plan into action because supply of vaccine is very limited right now. Health care workers caring for cove in 19 patients, along with staff and residents of long term care facilities, are up. First, we look forward to more if the modern A vaccine is authorized by an independent committee of the FDA on Thursday, we expect to get 175,000 doses of that vaccine next week. Just over half of those will go to a long term care facilities. We expect them to be getting vaccinated at the end of the month. Beyond that, questions remain. North Carolina and every other state still need clarity from the federal government as to how many doses of advisor vaccine we will receive going forward. We've been told that each Friday will get information about the following week shipment giving the states just a few hours to direct where those shipments will go. Yesterday I raised this issue with Vice President Mike Pence on a call with other governors. I asked for more time to plan, which is critical is our vaccines roll out across the state, and they said that they will walk on it right now. I'd like to ask Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to provide an update for us. Dr. Cohen. Thank you, Governor. I'll start with the good news. As the governor said, the first doses of vaccine have arrived and have it been administered in North Carolina. It was a historic and emotional day for many, as we finally have a new tool to protect people from this virus. Yesterday, three hospitals atrium, Duke and Wake Forest Baptist began vaccinating their health care workers as a reminder. More than 40,000 people participated in visors clinical trials. The data showed that the vaccine is nearly 95% effective in preventing COVE in 19. And remember, you can't get Covad 19 from the vaccine itself. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our body thinks a germ like the virus is attacking. This creates the antibody defense. We need to fight off cove it if and when the rial germ attacks, we will continue to have very limited vaccine supplies. At first, the best way to Fight Cove in 19 is to start first with the vaccinations for those at highest risk reaching more people as a vaccine supply increases. That's why we're starting first, with our healthcare workers at highest risk of exposure and our long term care staff and residents an effort of this scale, we know it's certainly gonna have its bumps. However, the more information we have, the better everyone can plan. As a governor mentioned, we still do not know how much Visor vaccine North Carolina is going to receive next week. We've been informed by our federal partners that these quantities will be shared on Friday prior to their shipping on Monday. But I hope the federal government will reconsider that timeline. It's not enough time to allow the state and providers to plan for appropriate allocations were to coordinate vaccine schedules for staff. And while yesterday was a pivotal day, we have so much work to do right now to protect each other and slow the spread of this deadly virus. We are experiencing a staggering increase in our pandemic trends, and I am particularly worried about our hospital capacity. Just one month ago, we had 1395 people in the hospital with co vid 19 Today we have 2735 people in the hospital. Right now. That's twice as many people hospitalized. Then we had on November 15th. One month ago, we had 350 people in the intensive care unit with co vid 19. Today we have 643 people in the I C u. I know we're all getting so numb to these numbers. So I'm asking you to take a moment to think about who these people are. They're our neighbors, our friends, our family members there people we love. Too many North Carolinians are getting seriously ill. And with more than 5800 deaths, too many are dying. I know no one wants this for our state. Together we can protect North Carolinians from this pandemic and make sure that our hospitals are able to take care of everyone. Whether it's for a broken arm or a heart attack or cove in 19, keep wearing a mask. When you're with anyone who doesn't live with you, keep waiting 6 ft apart. Keep washing your hands often thes small actions can have big impact, and they save lives. As we head into the holidays, we have a hard ask for everyone in North Carolina. The CDC is recommending that people do not travel and instead stay home this holiday season. If you absolutely must travel or gather with others, it's essential you get tested ahead of time where a mask all the time and keep it small and keep it outdoors. Over the next two weeks, we're sponsoring more than 300 free community testing events, including a new partnership with Agra Supply, Carly C, Home Depot, Piggly Wiggly and Wegman's stores in seven counties. So goto n c DHs dot gov slash testing place to find a free testing event near you. Let's keep protecting one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask. Thank you, Governor. Okay. Thank you, Dr Cohen. And thanks to you and our team for working hard to prepare for this moment. But the numbers you've laid out are too high, and the vaccine can't yet have a significant effect. We must get these trends turned around. Seeing vaccinations underway gives us hope at the end of a hard year. But this virus continues to be extremely contagious and deadly. We need to persevere and keep using our tried and true safety precautions. Follow them out. If I'd stay at home order, care for your neighbors and loved ones by wearing a mask, keep distance between you and others. The more careful we are now the Mawr lives. We will save. Last week, Dr Cohen, our department of public Safety secretary, Eric Eric Hooks, and I sent a letter to local government officials were urging them to help us with enforcement of executive orders. To help slow the spread of the virus, local governments can enforce safety protocols with civil penalties, including fines for violations instead of criminal charges, which we believe could be more effective, An advisory opinion from the attorney general's office answers the legal questions on what we need now is their determination to keep community safe. Our aim is not To get people in trouble is to get people to do the right things, to slow the spread of this virus and to keep it from overwhelming our hospital systems. I'm grateful to the many local governments already taking action to keep their communities safe with the holidays here. I know that it's hard to imagine missing out on our beloved traditions with family and friends getting together. But just like Thanksgiving, we need to rethink what it means to celebrate this December. We're just seeing the Thanksgiving covert 19 spike over the last few days, and the Christmas holidays could be even worst. The safest option is to connect online or by phone. And if you if you have to gather in person, try to get tested first, do it outdoors, limit the number of people and wear a mask. Cova 19 tests are available before the holidays. As Dr Cohen mentioned, we've worked in partnership with retailers to provide no cost test at familiar sights and bunkum Durham, our daily Mecklenburg Wait counties, in addition to existing testing events across the state. And again, you could go to that N C D H s dot gov backslash Testing Place website to find out where you could get a test. And remember, a negative test doesn't give you a free pass. It just makes it safer. You'll still need to wear a mass stay outdoors Practice social distancing In case you contracted the virus after you got tested these air simple measures that work. Doing them ensures that Mawr of our loved ones will be with us for the next holiday season with an end in sight. Let's come together and work hard these next few months to keep ourselves and our families safe. I know we can do this right now. I'd like to recognize emergency management director Mike Spray Berry, who's going to give us a brief update on some winter weather that we're expecting. Mike. Thank you, Governor, and thank you for your leadership. Good afternoon. Today is Day 281 of the state emergency operation centers. Covad 19 Response. We also have winter weather moving into parts of our state overnight and tomorrow morning, and it's important that everyone is aware and prepared. Three of our Western counties Ash Allegheny in Watauga are under a winter storm warning and could receive 1 to 3 inches of snow mixed in with some sleater ice and some wind. A winter weather advisory begins tonight at midnight and continues Wednesday for the rest of western North Carolina are northern Piedmont and the Triad area. Hazardous road conditions in some power outages, air likely in all of these regions through Thursday morning. Everyone should follow their local forecast closely and stay alert to changing weather conditions over the next 48 hours. While this is currently forecast to be a minor winter weather event for our state, winter weather in North Carolina is notoriously difficult to forecast, and just a small change in the forecast can mean big changes in storm impacts. D O T crews are currently brining highways across central and western parts of the state. If roads do become hazardous, remember to decrease your speed and increase your following distance. The best advice is to stay off hazardous roads unless you absolutely must travel. Staying aware and being cautious over the next 48 hours will help us all stay safe during this winter weather. And while you're preparing yourself for this winter weather like the governor and the secretary said, don't forget to observe the three W's where a cloth face covering. Wait at least 6 ft apart and wash your hands often. That's where weight and wash as always. Don't forget to look out for your family, friends and neighbors, and to call your loved ones dailies guaranteed they'll appreciate it with kindness and cooperation. We'll all get through this together as one team, one mission and one family. Thank you, sir. As always. Thank you, Mike. Also with me today is our Secretary of Public Safety, Eric Cooks and Commissioner of Prisons Todd Issue our Sign language interpreters or Brian Tipton and Monica McGhee. And behind the scenes, Jackie and Jasmine Motive via our Spanish language interpreter's. We'll take questions from the media. And if you could give your name and the organization you represent, we would appreciate it. We'll take the first one. Our first question is from Marissa Tansy. No Wfm Y hi, Governor. Hi, Dr Cohen. This is Marisa Poncino with Wfm Lie and Greensboro. Thanks for taking our questions today. First, um, I wanted to ask about hospital capacity. Of course. That is a huge concern. Um, So what conversations are you guys having with regional health care providers regarding where they're at? Um, what contingency plans do you have in place? And at what point will additional facilities be needed to be opened for more hospital space? Well, we're working closely with hospital CEOs across the state to make sure that their capacity is always there, that they have hospital beds, that they have I C. U beds and that they have ventilators, and really, they have been doing an excellent job. They went through this this past early in the summer, and so we learned a lot about what to do and not to do. And so, you know, I feel good about where we are with them and their capacity. We just need to help them out. We need to wear our mass and wait 6 ft apart and wash our hands and be responsible and do the things that we need to do so that they will not get overwhelmed. And I know that Dr Cohen has been talking with them not only about vaccine distribution, but about their surging and making sure they have enough beds and staff. So I'll let her address that as well. Thanks, Marisa, for that question. So our teams are coordinating with the hospitals daily, sometimes hourly, to understand what's happening and if folks need additional support and I want to echo what the governor said, I think the the teamwork across hospitals that I have seen is really unprecedented, and I'm really proud of how North Carolina is approaching this because it is a team effort. So if one hospital starts to get, um, stretched, can another hospital help out? Eh? So I think that's been incredibly important to have that visibility, um, and the sharing of information. So our teams meet nearly daily with various parts of the state. If we see any unusual increases in numbers were immediately on the phone, with folks coordinating, making sure that we know if they have support. As far as your second question related to do, we need to open up new space. What I would say it's hospitals are already working within their their space to open up additional Covic related space. We know that they've been doing that over the last number of weeks. They had certain covert units. Those units have become full. Now they're converting other units to now become covert units as well. It does mean that there is less capacity for other kinds of things as we try to staff up more on Cove it what I say about opening, whether it was another location or there was talk very early on about field hospitals for us in North Carolina. It's not a physical space, but rather a limitation on the people, the doctors, the nurses in particular, um, that are needed and that are really strained. Here we have physical space. Um, but what we need to really manage very carefully are, is are are the people and the staffing. And as we know, all places around the country are seeing similar strain. So this is not an ability for us to go on, call a partner in another state, and for them to be able to send people or staff Resource is to our state. So we know we have to manage this internally, which means we have to watch very carefully what's going on, and we're gonna have to adjust. Which means doctors and nurses that might work in a different part of the hospital or in a different kinds of patient populations may now have to do different kinds of work taking care of in patient co vid. Um, folks are doing work in the emergency room or urgent care setting eso hospitals, like I said, are doing a terrific job of right now managing that internally, I'll just echo once again with the governor reiterated. We all have a role to play in helping our hospitals be there for everyone. And that's not just for co vid. We want them to be there if you have a heart attack. If God forbid you get hit by a car, we want your hospital bed and, importantly, that doctors and nurses to be there for you. That's why we all have to work really hard right now to slow the spread of this virus, particularly as we move into the holidays. Thanks. Next question. Please follow up. Marissa Cancino. Wfm Y Thank you, Governor and Dr Cohen for that answer. Um, I also wanted to ask about vaccines. Um, I know that you mentioned that you're still waiting for word on how many will come next when the next shipment will come. But as we start to see these first health care workers get their first ghost, how is that going toe work in terms of communication between these regional health care providers and the state in terms of how many second doses they need, what will that process look like? Obviously, this is logistically complex, and it's why this team has spent months and months getting ready for this vaccine distribution. They've created a database where it would record how many people have gotten the first dose so that we would know who needs the second dose. And you got to remember that with Pfizer is 21 days and with Madonna it's 28 days and that people need to have the same vaccine for their 1st and 2nd dose that can't have one from one company and one from the other. So it's going to be a really working together, together with our health care providers, making sure that there is a lot of communication. And as we get Mawr and Mawr vaccine and spread it out further across the state, it will get more complex because they're Mawr people who are going to be involved in it. But I know that Dr Cohen and the team there have been working on this, uh, really on an hourly basis. Here they've set up a war room where they are taking questions from health care providers and providing answers. As you can imagine, Aziz, the trucks roll in and put the vaccine out there. There are some questions by providers, and we're trying to communicate and making sure that they know exactly what to do and that we don't waste a single dose. Dr. Cohen, would you want toe supplement that? Thanks, Mercer. One thing just to add. So what we're getting right now, um, are all first doses from the Pfizer manufacturing company. So they're all being given out to healthcare workers, and they're all first doses. So what will happen is two weeks from now, the same places will get the same exact number of doses in two weeks so that in that third week, they can then administer that second dose 21 days later to the same folks. So if they got ah 1000 vaccine doses this week in two weeks, they'll get ah, 1000 doses of fighter as well to be administered for the following week. So the federal government is holding back, um, the second dose. And in two weeks, we'll be sending those. So, as the governor said, this is gonna get complex because we'll be sending out first doses and second doses as soon as a couple weeks from now. Thank you. Next question, please. Our next question is from Dawn Bond with the Newsman Server night on bond with the newsman server on vaccines. Now that you'll find out on Friday about next week what has to happen over the weekend? And did you get any explanation from the feds on why they're short notice or any sort of ballpark number on what to expect? So they're supposed Thio Tell us on that Friday morning how many doses that were supposed to get. The key is, we're supposed tohave by 8 p.m. That evening. Exactly where we want them to ship those doses. So logistically, uh, knowing that number earlier can help the team plan better. And they said they would work on that. Uh, the cadence they called it that they had planned was, ah, Friday information on the number of doses and a Monday shipment. But what wasn't talked about was the fact that we need to get back with them with only in only a few hours. So let them know where we want the shipments to g. O. So talk with the General and the vice President yesterday that both said they would work on this. I think they understood, uh, the logistical problems, I think other other governors, uh agreed with that. So hopefully we'll start getting a little more notice on how many doses that we're gonna have so that we can be a little more deliberate about where they go. Would you wanna add to that? Okay, next question. Please. Follow up. Jon. Bon newsman server. Hi. Thanks for the follow up. So how does this impact the next round of hospitals that can get it after those that receive it this week? And are they set with the facilities and the staffing that they need it to go and address that? Hi Don. So, two things going on, we both need to understand how much visor vaccine. But we also know that the FDA right now is reviewing the Madonna vaccine. There's going to be an independent advisory, uh, committee meeting on Thursday, similar toe last week on Thursday when they met for Pfizer. So we also anticipate that we could have our first round of Madonna doses here in North Carolina. Once we have the additional doses, we will be able to go to more than those 53 hospitals that we went to originally. Um, and we plan to go to all of our hospital systems as well as our local health departments across the state. So we hope by the end of next week, um, that we will be able to be in all 100 counties with some amount of vaccine. It will be small doses, small, um, allocations at first. Um, but at least we'll be able to be in more places by the end of next week, assuming again that the FDA does in fact approved Moderna this week. And we do get our our allocations over the course of next week in terms of Pfizer. Again, we're not exactly sure of that shipment, but we do expect additional Pfizer vaccine again that could go to the same hospitals that could go to a few additional as well as a few of our local health departments. This is exactly what the governor saying is like, The more certainty we have on those numbers, it allows us to get into this planning of where should Pfizer versus Madonna go? How many doses they all interact with each other. So the more time we have to plan, the better as we get into this thank you and one more area of complication that Dr Cohen mentioned earlier is that the federal government is handling the distribution of vaccine in our long term care facilities. But it has that those doses has to come out of our shipment. And we have toe hold back about half of our doses of Madonna. If that is authorized to be able Thio, give Thio contractors for the federal government, which is CVS and Walgreens. So all of that's gonna be going on at the same time. And there's a lot of logistics, but I'm confident that I think we have a plan in place to get this vaccine out as quickly and effectively as possible. Next question, please. Our next question is from Courtney Cold wbtv So all of that going on Hello? Can you hear me? Yes. So my question is going off also going off of the vaccines. I know you said that you all needed more clarity from sure it'll tie into this. But yesterday, atrium Health and Charlotte said that they did not get the amount of vaccine doses they were originally allocated by the state. And is this something that you are seeing that other facilities that where they're not getting what they acts whereas promised or no cool. Mhm. Hi, Courtney. I'll have to follow up on that. As far as the early ship sites, we believe that the doses that are arrived that were the, um, allocations that we expected. But we will go back and follow up with atrium to make sure something wasn't missed. But, um, again, we are Aziz. We get total allocations from the federal government. Then we go back to them and say, This is how many should ship to which particular locations. That's the work that gets done. And the more time we have to plan, the better for that. But we will go back and check to see if folks are getting less than they expected. Again. We don't even know what what we're expecting for next week. So, um, we're not sure. I'm not sure exactly what you were referring to with the atrium doses, but we'll follow up. Thank you. Next question, please. Our next question is from Richard Craver with the Winston Salem Journal. Yes. Hello, Governor, says Richard Craver from the Winston Salem Journal. This might be a question. Is Mawr directed Thio? Secretary Cohen. I was talking to on the vant infectious disease expert this morning and he was talking about their understanding is that you might end up having mawr of the Madonna vaccine going to the rule and community hospitals as well as a long term care facilities just because of the way it's stored compared to Pfizer. And I was wanting to see if you all have any concerns about that, or in a situation where you feel like each of the vaccines will be equally, I'm a factor code. Thanks, Richard. So our understanding from the preliminary data is that both the Pfizer vaccine and the Modern A vaccine have similar effectiveness about 95% effective, which is terrific. Um, and as far as the choice is between where each vaccine is going, it is more related to that underlying logistics. So the Madonna vaccine are packaged in smaller units so it can go to more places. So the Pfizer vaccine they pack, um, nearly 1000 together. And so if you're thinking about wanting to get that out to many places, it doesn't give you as much flexibility. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine requires that ultra cold storage or for you to have refills of dry ice. It also requires some additional work with the pharmacist to dilute it. So we tried to target the Pfizer vaccines to those that had a bit more of the ultra cold storage capacity. Had more pharmacy, uh, at the ready. So some of our smaller local health departments, um, for example, we're definitely targeting the Madonna vaccine. It is a little bit more portable. Um, then then the Pfizer And again, we're also targeting the modern. A vaccine for our local are sorry, our long term care program that the governor mentioned with CVS and Walgreens again because they will have to go in smaller batches to some of our smaller nursing homes on our adult care homes. Thanks. Next question. Please follow up. Richard Craver, The Winston Salem Journal. Uh, yes, Secretary Cohen. I was one of 1111 more thing by you. I keep getting these emails, and I guess maybe mawr of public relations and anything else about these home covert tests. Have you heard anything about them? And when those should be expected? Thanks, Richard. Yes. There are a number of new products on the market. Some of them are are rapid tests. Some of them are at home. Um, so ah, lot of them are the ability for you to swab your own nose, put it in a in a tube and sort of send it off to the lab and and get the results done. There are a number of them that are are out there. I know some of the big box retailers like Wal Mart and Costco and others, um, have have that available. Um, so I don't think that we We have a have a preference of one over the other. We want folks to know that there are free testing sites available through the state. We've mentioned it a couple times. Go to find my testing site for North Carolina. We have 300 sites over the next couple of weeks where you can get free testing. But again, there are some home tests that folks can take advantage of. Obviously, those have a cost associated with it. So if cost is a barrier, we want folks to know that there is free testing available across North Carolina. Thanks, Richard. Next question, please. Our next question is from Kim King with wlos Good afternoon, Governor. Um, I have a question for you about enforcement of restaurants and businesses who have been violating back When you issued your order in November, our local leaders, including the bunkum chairman and, uh, the emergency preparedness director said that they were going to crack down on businesses and find them $50 and then subsequently subsequently potentially shut them down. They haven't issued one citation. What would you say in response to that? They've received over 145 complaints. What are you asking of local officials, and what would you hope that they did? Well, we think enforcement of the executive orders is important, not just to get people in trouble. We don't want to get people in trouble, but to make sure we slow the spread of this virus and local governments can help us by adopting ordinances that allow them to, uh, impose fines or penalties Under state law. The only, uh action that we can take or law enforcement can take is to charged with a misdemeanor. So having multiple options for a local government can be a better way to enforce and to try to get businesses and everyday people to comply with these orders in order to slow the spread of the virus. I don't know about the statistics that you mentioned. I'm I'm glad that the county of bunkum and I believe the city of actual have taken the steps to adopt the ordinances. I feel confident that a lot of businesses are abiding by the orders and may even be doing it Mawr. So realizing that local governments can come in and may come in to enforce those orders. So I think that that's positive. Also, our Department of Health and Human Services has taken some action, working with local health departments on businesses that continue to violate the rules. So we are having enforcement across the state. This effort, with this letter we sent out to local government officials across the state, were hoping that MAWR local governments will be involved and will step up because when they see that their county is red. When you have people that you know who are sick and dying and we know that scientifically thes steps are proven to slow the spread of the virus, I think it's a comment upon us as leaders to take the steps that we need to step to take to slow the spread of the virus. And it's also important as leaders for us to set good examples about what we ought to be doing. So I hope we seem or local governments who who decided to take this step? Uh, next question, please. Our next question is from morally with Carolina Public press. Good afternoon, Governor Loralee from Carolina Public Press A Z. I'm sure you know there's a pending a lot of suit relating to prisons where a special masters been appointed, and the judge in that case has said that the prison population needs thio decrease rapidly in order to protect but incarcerated people on staff from exposure and spread of co vid. Excuse me, he ordered. CPS took for more options to decrease the population concentrations back in June, And North Carolina, unfortunately, has one of the smallest prisoner release numbers in the country during the pandemic, which may be contributing to this issue. Um, you obviously oversee DPS and you have your own authority to decrease prison populations to pardon or clemency, but you have not yet done that. So we're just wondering, why have you not ordered prison population reduction. Well, first, it's important to make sure that staff and inmates in our prison system are protected. Second, the population has been reduced. Third, I welcome the appointment of a special master. I think that that is Ah, positive step. And I'll recognize Commissioner of Prisons Todd Issue to come forward and toe talk about some of the additional steps that that have been taken any. Thank you, Governor. The our prison system and the Department of Public Safety has taken a number of steps to reduce the population during the pandemic. Uh, starting with extended limits of confinement. Uh, we have transfer transferred over 700 offenders from supervision in our prison system to supervision by our community corrections personnel. We've awarded discretionary days credits to allow offenders to move to their early release date. Uh, over 2000 of those offenders have have done that. Uh um, So we have a We have a number of release initiatives that have gone on at the beginning of the pandemic, our prison state prison population was over 34,000. And as as of this afternoon, our state prison population is about 30,000. Um, since the pandemic. There have been about 48,000 men and women who have gone through the prison system and have been released. That includes our our current population of 30,000. Thank you, Governor. Next question, please. Follow up. Loralee Carolina Public Press. Thank you for that. I'm just wondering, you know, one of the challenges for reporting by from the situation in prisons. But the situation with hospitals in terms of how doses are prioritized among populations, eyes, availability of data. And I know there was some discussion last week about when that level of data would be made available. And so I'm just wondering, um, when we can expect to see not just the data about where this is air being shipped, but data about how those choices air then distributed both in hospitals in another population. How about Dr Cohen? Thanks, Laura. As we've done with all of our data, we intend to put that on our dashboard. And we hope to have that as starting as soon as next week. Um, so we're giving folks a little bit of time to ramp up, get used to using our our data systems and then hope to have that information in terms of who is getting vaccinated. Um, by next week. Thank you. Okay, thanks. Next question, please. Our next question is from Vanessa. Rufus with WCNC Hi. Thank you for taking my question. This is Vanessa Rufus with WCNC Charlotte. I wanted to talk about the testing turnaround times. I know that you guys are all pushing for testing ahead of Christmas gatherings. If folks are going to be doing those, it looks like a least from what I can tell on the dashboard that testing times seemed to be a little bit higher than what we were dealing with during Thanksgiving. E guess I wanted to confirm that. That is indeed what you guys were seeing as well. And if you had any guidance for folks who would be dealing with those hires, we want people to continue to get tested, particularly if they're going home for the holidays. And we want them to be able to get that test results back before they make the trip. And three idea is to try to do it within 48 hours. But I'll let Dr Cohen tell us a little bit about where we are, right now. Vanessa. Hi. Yes, on our right on the front page of our dashboard. I'm sure you're looking at that right now. We do post our turnaround times for tests, and maybe they've picked up a couple of hours but are largely, um, stable to in terms of where we've been. And that's great, considering we're seeing some days where we're doing as many as 50 or 60,000 tests in one day. So we feel good about our capacity to continue that high level of testing as we head into the holidays. That's why we have over 300 free testing events across the state. We want folks to go to find my testing site so they confined, um, attesting availability near near them. But know that it does take 2 to 3 days for those results to come back. So plan ahead. As you're thinking about your holiday gathering again, I caution everyone. Please, if you can change your plans, Dio um, CDC is recommending against traveling and against gathering. But if you do plan for that, we want to make sure you get tested, and again I'll repeat what the governor said earlier. Testing is not a free pass. It does not mean well, I don't have to wear a mask anymore. Nope, Still gotta wear masks. Still need to stay socially distant, so keep it small, keep it outside and wear mask all the time. Thank you. But having that test result does make things safer. And that's why we're encouraging people to do it if you simply must travel and gather. Next question, please. Our next question is from Tina Terry Wsoc. Good afternoon. This is painted hearing with WSOC TV in Charlotte. I just wanted to find out if you all were given any insight into what factors are being used to determine which states get the most doses as we move into next week. Were you given any any clarification on that federal call? I'll let you handle that. Mhm. Hi, Tina. The allocation from the federal government is done strictly by state population. Eso. Once the federal government has a totality of knowing how much manufacturing is done for that week, they're dividing it strictly based on the state's population. There no additional factors such as rate of viral spread that go into that or hospital capacity. It's strictly by population. Thank you. Next question, please. Our next question is from Brian Anderson with The Associated Press Hi Governor High Secretary Cohen Brian Anderson here with the A p. A Couple quick questions. This one might be more appropriate for Mr Issue there, but can you just sort of explain for phase one B, there's 6000 estimated the inmates with two or more chronic conditions. Will they get the vaccine before, after or concurrently, with all staff members who are at those facilities? And, um, I was looking through the vaccine plan. This might be more appropriate for Secretary Cohen and looking at that document, uh, from, uh, 150 page document from October, using the highest range of those population estimates. I got the 7.3 million people, and I know this is a state with 10.5 million in the population. Can you just sort of elaborate on that discrepancy and and maybe they who shouldn't get vaccinated. Dr. Cohen, I think you can handle both of those. Yes, let me in terms of our prison population. When we think about adults with two or more chronic conditions which are in our second group or or one B group. Just step back. We're doing our one a group, which is our healthcare workers that are at highest risk of exposure and our long term care workers and residents. When we move into one B, it is all adults that have two or more chronic conditions, and we're particularly targeting those congregate settings like a prison. And at that point when we would do the vaccinations, we were doing staff as well as the um as the the inmates again adults with two or more chronic conditions. So it will happen concurrently. Um, as far as your other question related to the, um, the the overall plan in sort of the number, the the EU way that was done by the federal government in terms of who should not get the vaccine. It's very, very minuscule in terms of who they cut out from that. Um, first, it's ages 16 and up, so we're only talking about adults and ages 16 and up, and the Onley folks that they say should be truly left out are those who get a severe and fill Actiq reaction to the ingredients ingredients in this vaccine. So it's very, very narrow the way they did. The U S o means that everyone, um, can be offered this vaccine, particularly when we talk about pregnant women they had. They said that while pregnant women were not included in the trials. Ah, women who are pregnant can be offered this vaccine, but they should have a conversation with their health care provider. First, just understand risks and benefits of the vaccine process. Eso we do expect North Carolinians Teoh be able to get this vaccine as more supplies become available. I do want to caution folks that that is going to happen over a number of months, and we're gonna work through priority populations again that have higher risk of exposure or higher risk of getting very, very ill from Cove it. So we're gonna try to help those folks first get access to the vaccine and then we'll move into other populations. Thanks. Next question, please. Uh huh. Our final question is from Katie Peralta with the Charlotte agenda. Hi, Dr Colin, This is Katie Peralta with the Charlotte agenda in Charlotte. Um, just kind of broad question. I know you just said that more North Carolinians will receive the vaccine once it becomes available. And I'll take several months. Of course. But when do you anticipate that? People, um, you know, healthy young adults, people who do not have chronic conditions. When do you think that people everyone who wants the vaccine in North Carolina will be ableto have one? Thanks for that question, Katie. And I can't say that with precision. We both don't know enough about how fast things are getting manufactured. We don't know. Are we gonna be vaccinating with two vaccines like we think we will? Or will the third or fourth vaccine come online? In addition, we don't know how quickly the vaccines will be administered where Cereal Still learning, Figuring out the process, How many vaccines can we give out in a day? And then how many folks are going to say yes to vaccine? We hope as many as possible. Will all of these factors will matter into in terms of answering your question? My best estimate at this point is to say it's going to be well into the spring before I believe that vaccine is going to be widely available to folks. That's why we continue to emphasize wearing mask waiting 6 ft apart in washing hands. That's gonna be with us because it's going to take some time for that for that vaccine supply Thio build up here in North Carolina and we will have toe learn as we go in terms of how fast can we vaccinate on how how many folks are getting vaccinated across North Carolina? So stick with us is we have more information for you. We're grateful to the people of North Carolina for being with us today. Please stay safe out there and follow the three W's. Thank you.