Cooper: Virus trends too high to end curfew
Gov. Roy Cooper and state health and safety officials provide a Jan. 27, 2021, update on the coronavirus outbreak in North Carolina and the state's response to it.
of today, uh, North Carolina has had 733,000 confirmed cases 5, 587 new cases since yesterday, 3305 people in the hospital, and, sadly, 8915 people who have died our prayers go out to those who've lost loved ones or who are battling this virus. Today. We're encouraged to see that our co vid numbers have stabilized in recent days, and that's good. But the reality is that they are still high and that too many people are still falling seriously ill and dying. The virus is still raging through our communities, with more than 3300 people in the hospital and the percent of positive tests in the double digits. We know this virus is still spreading, and with it least one mawr contagious variant of Covad 19 In our state, we still have work to do. We cannot let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months. That means we need to keep wearing our mask and practicing social distancing when we leave our house. Now you've heard me say this a lot, but it's because these simple measures have and will save lives. Even as we continue our prevention efforts, the top priority in our state is getting vaccines to people as quickly and as equitably as possible. As of today, North Carolina has administered 99.8% off all the first doses that we have received from the federal government. I'm grateful to the Department of Health and Human Services, emergency management and health providers across the state for working hard to get these shots out there. The sticking point right now for our state and the nation is not enough vaccine. We do have thousands of shots, but there are millions of people who need two of them. Yesterday, we got some good news when we learned that the federal government will increase vaccine shipments to the States by 16% over the next three weeks. That will help, but we still need much more. I've heard. I know this is maddening and frustrating for many of you. Hundreds of thousands of you have had success in getting vaccinated, but many mawr of you haven't been able to get appointments or have been put on waiting lists trying to get someone on the phone and long wait times that I know that's frustrating, but it will get better as the state gets more vaccine and MAWR providers giving it out. And until we do, we all need to keep up with these three W's plan and wait for our turn as hard as that. ISS. I want every single North Carolinian to be immunized. To prevent this cruel disease, North Carolina will make sure everyone has a spot to get their shot. This pandemic has strained our patients, but also our economy, and many people are struggling financially. We set up the Hope Program to relieve some of that strained by assisting with rent and utility payments. As of this week, the Hope Program has paid nearly $130 million to landlords and utilities on behalf of more than 34,000 low income North Carolinians who faced eviction or utility shut off with the General Assembly back in session, Hope to work with these state legislators to appropriate recently passed federal funds to keep helping people and small businesses that are hurting. There is significant need out there. We hope to provide additional funds to expand the Hope program at this time I'm gonna ask Dr Mandy Cohen, our secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to give us an update on our covert data. Dr. Cohen. Mhm. Thank you, Governor. It's been a while since we've had a day to day. So let's dive in a za reminder. We look at a combination of trend metrics. We look at co vid like syndrome A cases, new cases, positive tests as a percentage of total test and hospitalizations. On this first graph, we look at people who have come to the emergency department with co vid like symptoms. This is our earliest detection mechanism, and you could see when looking at that yellow line, it has trended downward over the past two weeks. However, you can also see it is still well above where it was earlier in the pandemic. Next we look at new co vid cases. This first graph shows you the trajectory of new cases each day since we had our first case back in March of last year. Like the previous metric, this still is way too high, but has been decreasing since its peak on January the 10th. If we narrow in on the trajectory of cases from early December through today, you can see a clear picture that our cases are starting toe level and they're back to where they were in late December. Next, we look at the percent of tests that are positive. This graph also goes back to the beginning of December. Looking at the Yellow Line R percent of positive test is leveling at about 10 to 11% but this is still well above our goal of 5%. On our next graph, we look a day over day hospitalizations. This graph also is from early December, and you can see looking at that yellow line. This trend has decreased just slightly, but we're still well above where we were in December. Okay, so in summary, here's where we are. Surveillance data has decreased, but remains very high. It does get a Red X. North Carolina. North Carolina's trajectory of cases is leveling, but still well above where we were most of last year. It gets a Red X. North Carolina's trajectory and percent of test returning positive is leveling, but is well above our goal of 5%. This also gets a yellow line and North Carolina's trajectory of hospitalizations is leveling, but way too high. It gets a yellow line. The overall take away is that we are past the spike from the winter holidays, but we're still experiencing worrisome levels of virus. This worry is compounded by the fact that we now have a new, even mawr contagious Covad virus strain. In our state, the three W's are as essential as they have always been. Remember, people can have cove in 19 and not know it. The best way to protect those around you is to act as if you have the virus and could be contagious. That means always wearing a mask over your mouth and nose, always waiting apart from others and always washing your hands frequently. Look, I know people are tired and stressed. This has been a hard year. Please know that help is available. Anyone in North Carolina can call the Hope for N C help line at 18555873463 That's 18555873463 It's help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also have a new co vid community Readiness Toolkit to help people find mental and behavioral health supports and resource is in their community having vaccines. And the state is also offering those glimmers of hope, as does seeing our vaccine providers come together to get vaccines to people as fast as possible. They achieved an important milestone today, as the governor mentioned, Vaccine providers have administered 99% of all first doses in the state, putting North Carolina in a strong position to advocate to the federal government for MAWR vaccine as they become available, as the governor shared. We learned yesterday that we would see an increase of about 16% in this coming week's supply. Even with this, increased demand for vaccine vastly exceeds our supply, and I know it's frustrating to have to wait. But everyone will be able to get their shot as vaccine supplies increase over the next several months. Keep doing those three W's and staying home so we can slow this virus down while we get everyone a spot to get their shot. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Dr Cohen. While it's good to see our numbers are decreasing and stabilizing as she said they remained too high we need to keep up our efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Today, I'm announcing that we will extend our modified stay at home order until February 28th of 2021. That means the 10 p.m. curfew is still in place, as are the mask mandates, mass gathering limits and capacity limits for businesses and retail. If people follow the safety protocols, they reduce their chance of getting sick and infecting others. I'm also extending a moratorium on in vic tions to help people stay in their homes during this pandemic. Health experts have shown us that keeping people in their homes is an important way to slow the spread of the virus and then evictions. Moratorium is important as we remain under a modified stay at home order and to support businesses working to serve customers. During difficult times. I will extend the order to allow to go and delivery sales for mixed beverages. Those orders will be in effect through March 31st 2021. Although we're often frustrated and weary, we're entering a time of hope. The vaccine team and health care providers are working night and day getting MAWR vaccines to people and more are on the horizon. Our co vid numbers air stabilizing. We are charting a path forward, but we have more work to do that's continue wearing our mass, working hard to get people vaccinated and taking this seriously. If we work to keep ourselves and each other safe, we will defeat this virus and moved to better times ahead. At this time. I would like to recognize our director of emergency management, Mike Spray Berry, to give us a brief update on the weather situation. Mike, Thank you, Governor, and thank you for your outstanding leadership. Today is day 324 of the state Emergency response team Activation for the co vid response were closely monitoring an incoming winter weather system, which will bring snow to parts of North Carolina beginning tonight. Rain will change to snow fall beginning around 10 PM in our western counties and snow is expected to arrive overnight for portions of our central and eastern counties, while the greatest accumulations are expected at higher elevations in the mountains, several inches of snowfall are also possible across northern portions of central and eastern regions of the state. Our advice is for everyone to closely monitor the forecast for your area. We know that winter weather is very difficult to predict and can change abruptly. If you're in an area that gets significant snow accumulation, please stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to travel. This will allow state and local crews to clear the roads, since this will be rain turning into snow as temperatures drop. D O T is not brining most highways for this event, as the rain would wash that salt solution away. But their crews are prepared to quickly clear. Roads were snow or ice accumulates and to spread salt and sand were needed. Please take the time the day to make sure your home, your family and your vehicles are prepared for winter weather and exercise. Caution if you must travel in hazardous conditions. Thank you very much. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Director Spray Berry. Also with me today is Secretary of Public Safety Eric Cooks and Commissioner of Prisons Todd Issue, Monica McGee and David Pain, or our sign language interpreters. And behind the scenes Jackie Materia and Erica Kugler, our Spanish language interpreter's. We will now take questions and if you can state your name and your organization, we would appreciate it. We'll take the first one. Our first question is from Laura Leslie with W R E O. Yeah, something. Hey, Governor, are you able to hear me? Okay, it's again. Great. Thank you. Thanks for taking my question. Um, when do you anticipate that the state will have enough vaccine, uh, to move into the next phase, uh, to finish out the phase that we're in, I should say and move into the next phase of vaccinations. I don't think we can exactly predict that yet because although we know what the vaccine coming is for the next three weeks, uh, we're hoping for additional vaccine coming later on. We wanna make sure that we get most of the people in phases before we move to the next one. Uh, Dr Cohen, I'll let you elaborate on that a bit if you would. Hi, Laura. We're working with our vaccine partners on that right now. We've actually asked them the question about how they are seeing demand on the ground. Are they still seeing the high levels of demand for those who are 65 up and from our health care workers, which is the current, um, folks, we are vaccinating from What we have heard from our provider so far is that there is still a lot of demand from that group. Um, and so we don't anticipate moving forward quite yet. Um, but we want to make sure we're continuing to move quickly. Um, and make sure that we are doing what we did in this past week, which was get all of those first doses out into arms each and every week. So before the next shipment from the federal government comes, so we'll be monitoring that very closely looking at our data, working with our vaccine providers. And then we'll be back in touch as we are able to move from one category to the next. Thank you. Next question, please. We have a follow up. Laura Leslie. W R E O. Thanks. Just a follow up. Um, we have been hearing from folks who have had their vaccine appointments canceled. Obviously, a lot of disappointment out there. Is there these like to say to those folks? Sure, I know that it is frustrating for people they want their vaccines and they want them now because they will help protect you from this deadly disease. The biggest problem we face right now is that we have millions of people who need it, but only thousands of shots. So I asked people to continue to call to continue toe work, to try to get a appointment. And we're encouraging providers to as much as they can do an appointment schedule situation. And I would say to them that people are working night and day to get enough vaccine so that everybody can be vaccinated and that there will be a time for you to get your shot. And we're gonna continue to work to make sure everybody in North Carolina is vaccinated as quickly as possible. And they've been working all this week to make sure we get rid of all of our first doses and get people vaccinated and can turn to Washington and say North Carolina needs mawr. And that's what we've done. Thanks. Next question. Police. Our next question is from Page Perros A with wbtv. Hi, Governor. Thank you for taking my question. This is page for us. So from wbtv um the CDC recently published new data saying transmission of Kobe, 19 wasn't happening at high levels in some schools in North Carolina. They studied, and it was mawr of community spread, suggesting that schools could return safely. At the same time, many North Carolina School District are still all virtual. Will you change your guidance and request that these schools give parents an in person option now based on the city's data? Well, first, for any of you who've watched these briefings, you know that you've heard from me that our priority is to get our Children back into schools. Physically, we know that it's better for them there that they learn mawr and they get a lot mawr attention. We provided schools with the options of three different plans. One, of course, is still all remote. I'm gonna ask local school boards and superintendents to study this data that has just come out. I know that our team is going to study the data and work with the State Board of Education, and I think you will hear Mawr from educators and from our health team in the coming days, looking at that study and just remembering that we do want to get our Children back in school as soon as we safely can. And also remember that it is critically important that when Children are in school, as they are in many of schools across the state, that we keep up the safety protocols wearing mask and keeping things clean and doing the things that we need to do to protect our Children, our teachers and staff members at school. Next question, please. Our next question is from Steve Devein with the Fayetteville Observer. Yes. Hey, Governor, this Steve Bond with the Federal Observer, My question is about nursing homes. I was looking at the report, Um uh, ongoing outbreaks. It looks like there's 70 some with more than 100 cases and, um, eight or 10 that even have, uh, more than 20 deaths. Uh, my question is, whether or not do you think the state has done enough to get the vaccine out to these, uh, you know, to nursing homes and similar facilities. And, uh, you know, what would you say to folks who are concerned about that situation? First, it's been a priority to make sure that the state of North Carolina protects people who are in nursing homes, and, uh, there has been significant work to help them when they have a case to make sure that they quarantine people and to try to prevent spreads. But we know that in congregate living conditions that it's much easier for the virus to spread. Uh, but our team has been working with the providers all across the state. Uh, it's critically important that we get vaccines to staff and long term residents. The federal government decided that it was going to run the nursing home vaccination program. So if you look on our data sheet, you'll see two separate of how North Carolina is running the vaccine program for everybody else. But the federal government is running the long term care facilities. They've contract ID with Walgreen and CVS. I was on the phone with the Biden administration and other governors, and in most states across the country, I think the long term care vaccinations air moving slower than we would like to see. I believe the dashboard had about 84,000, had gotten first doses and very few have gotten second doses. So we told that Biden administration that we still we wanted them to pick up the pace as much as they possibly could, and we want to provide help to them to do that. So I think the state has worked hard to protect. People in nursing homes were encouraging these vaccinations to occur. We know that sometimes when, uh, Walgreens and CVS has gone into some dust nursing homes, some people have refused it. And ah, lot of education efforts are going on to reduce and eliminate the skepticism that we know is out there with among a lot of people, particularly communities of color, that have a long history of having problems that give rise to concerns. But I think with this independent body approving these vaccines, uh, they are safe and effective, and everybody's working hard Thio to make sure that people get vaccinated. Dr. Cohen, would you like that? Okay, next question, please. Follow up. Steve Von, Say the Observer. Yes, Uh, my only other question would be Do you regret, uh, that you didn't opt out of that program with the federal government? I think some states might have done, uh, feel they've done better on their own. And was that ever an option? I believe that all states are under the federal program. When it comes to a long term care that's not true. OK, I'll let you take that. Hi, Steve. I think we are. We were not in the same position of a very few number of states who were differently situated because of relationships they had with different pharmacy entities that were based in the state for us. CVS and Walgreens have been good partners. They have completed all of their first dose clinics going through all of nursing homes and every long term care site that signed up for the program. Um, I think that they've been doing, you know, communication. Of course, we always want to see things go faster, and we wanted address hesitancy. But I think that they given the scale of the activity and taking doses to our most vulnerable, um, I think they've done ah, very good job of completing all of their first dose clinics. Now they have to go back for a second dose and third third clinics to pick up those they may have missed in other shifts or new new residents of our long term care entities that might be be there. So still a lot of work to dio, but we continue to work with them in partnership. Thank you. We still want them to move faster. Next question. Our next question is from Richard Crazier with the Winston Salem Journal. Yeah. Hello, Governor. Secretary Cohen, this is Richard Kramer with the Winston Salem Journal. One. I'm gonna ask a couple questions. One is sort of technical question to Secretary Cohen about whether her secretarial order this has been extended. And then seconds. I know I'm getting a lot of questions from teachers and other groups wondering why they're not getting the ability to be vaccinated if given the effort to try to get the schools reopened, and you feel like that would be a logical step in helping that. So I was wanting toe address that situation, given that today you had teachers vaccinated in Davie County and I know there's a few other counties yet other counties they're not taking that step. Yeah, thanks for that. And anyone 65 over can get a vaccine right now. So are eligible to get a vaccine, so any teachers who would fall in that category would be able to do it, but they're next in line with essential workers. And we know it's going to be extremely important to get our teachers and staff vaccinated. Uh, Dr Cohen and I were just talking about that before we walked up here so they would be the next next group in line, and I'll let Dr Cohen address her order. Hi, Richard. Yes? The secretarial directive that we put out a number of weeks ago is still in effect. That secretarial directive does remind folks to stay home whenever possible. I know are trends have slightly improved, but we don't want to get numb to these numbers. They're still extremely high. And now we have a new contagious variant of this virus here in North Carolina. So we're still encouraging everyone to stay home whenever possible. Really limiting. Leaving your home for things like work school, going to the grocery store, getting health care If you have to leave your home, please wear a mask all the time, keeps physical distance and wash your hands often. Thank you. Next question. Please follow up. Richard Craver, Winston Salem Journal. Um, Government, Our Secretary Cohen, Just to be sure, I can explain this correctly at this point. What authority or what authorization. Are these county health departments like Davie County using to be able to vaccinate teachers that other counties aren't? Hi, Richard. Thanks for that. So our our guidance to our local health department and all of our vaccine providers is that we have a prioritization. And as the governor said, we're vaccinating those who are 65 up, as well as all of our health care workers. We recognize, though, that there has to be some flexibility. The local level we know folks, for example, had appointments scheduled before we made a shift to the 65 um, and up population. We wanted folks to be able to honor those appointments. Um And then, as was asked in an earlier question, We're trying to understand from our vaccine providers. Where are they? Are they not seeing the demand, uh, from those who are 65 up? And do they want to move forward to frontline? Essential workers, which are teachers, are police officers on others. So we're trying to understand that so there is some flexibility at the local level, but our instructions to please stay within the state's prioritization. And again, that is, for those who are ages 65 up and all health care workers at this time. Thank you. Next question, please. The next question is from Thomas. Way back with W I t m. Hi, Governor King. I mean, all right. Just can't Thanks. Yeah, All right. Thank you for taking my question. I have kind of two parts. First. Do you think more of the state budget should be allocated to vaccination efforts with the demand for vaccine so high? And secondly, with the General Assembly back, how optimistic are you that we won't have another budget stalemate in this session? Well, first, of course, we need more Resource is for vaccines. But what we need most of all is the actual vaccines themselves. The federal government has provided some help to us. We'll talk to the General Assembly about any state funds that that need to be used for that. But we wanna make sure that our providers have all the help that they need. We've asked the health Department's the hospitals all those who are providing the vaccine if they need help, we want to get it to them. And we wanna make sure that they have everything that they need to quickly, equitably get these vaccines out. You know, I've spent time since the election talking to both Republican and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly. I don't think anybody wants a budget stalemate. The people of North Carolina voted and decided, uh, they wanted me to continue being governor and wanted the Republican leadership continuing to serve in the General Assembly. So I think we owe it to the people of this state to do everything that we can to find as much common ground as we can and to try to get a budget that we can agree on. That one that everybody knows is not perfect, but one that at least we can agree on. And I've talked with both Republican and Democratic leadership frequently. We talked earlier. Early is last week. Uh, everybody is committing to Mawr communication and transparency. I I want them to have input as we develop my budget to present to the General Assembly, and we would like input during the process regarding what we want. Obviously, we want more health care coverage, Mawr investments in education, working toward a clean energy economy, getting high speed Internet access across our state Ah, bond proposal that's gonna help with infrastructure, schools, community colleges and universities. We want to see those kinds of things as well as help for businesses. Aziz, we work to emerge from this pandemic, but I think we will be able to find some common ground we did in my first four years as governor. We found common ground on a number of areas. And I'm gonna give it my very best to make sure that there's give and take that everybody has much voices we can at the table and that we can come up with a budget and other legislation that will help move North Carolina forward. I think we owe it to the people to do that. Thanks. Next question, please. The next question is from Laura Lee with Carolina Public Press. Good afternoon, governments. Loralee from Carolina Public Press. I just want to revisit what Richard had asked about earlier. Um, we know there are some Group three individuals receiving vaccines in parts of the state, and it sounds like some of that is attributed thio previously scheduled appointments. But to be clear, do health directors and hospital administrators at the county level have discretion about when they're to move to group three. Um, meaning some could move before others. And if so, have you given guidance on when they should be making that move and or how they are going to determine if someone you know will someone have to present evidence that they are, in fact, a member of group three? Thanks, Laura. Couple parts of your question there. Let me start with the end of how to folks know what group they're in. And I want to remind folks that yesterday we put up a screener tool. You can go to your shot, your spot, your spot, your shot. Scuse me and dot n c dot gov Um, and where folks can go through a series of questions to know what group they are in. It outlines exactly who we mean when we say frontline essential workers, um, and what what group folks fall into. So that's that's the first on how to folks know what group they're in. And similarly, as I was saying before, for our local providers were working with them right now to understand, are you seeing a slowdown in those who are 65 up coming in for appointments because the governor has been very clear. We need to make sure we are prioritizing speed and getting vaccine out. So we don't want to be holding our local partners back from getting vaccine out quickly. So we're trying to understand that right now. If we are, are we meeting that point where we're seeing ah, slowdown in those who are above 65? If we're not seeing that slow down, we need to stick with this group because we prioritize those for a reason. Thes air are folks who are at highest risk from bad outcomes from co vid. Those who are 65 up represent 83% of our deaths here in North Carolina. So we want to do a terrific job of reaching all of those who are over the age of 65. And again, our supply of vaccine is incredibly limited. So we do want to try and prioritize those who are over 65. All that being said, we recognize that there is are different things happening at on the ground with our providers, so I'd ask them to get in touch with our team. Let's have a dialogue about what they're seeing so that they can keep up that speed of getting vaccine out, but that we do it in the prioritized way. Thank you. Next question. Please follow up. Lara Lee, Carolina Public Press. Thanks for that. So the information about how someone might determine that their in Group three is presented in the materials used identified I'm just wondering for the health care providers for the health directors, Health Department directors, hospital administrators, um, is there a process or procedure for them to determine if someone you know appears and says I'm a teacher? I mean, three. Is there some, you know, requirement for some sort of evidence of that? And do they have discretion? It sounds like they dio to move their group three ahead if they feel like they've accomplished what they need to with Groups one and two. I'm gonna let Dr Cohen come up and elaborate on that question. But I will say this and we want local health leaders and providers to stick with what we have proposed for the list of prioritization. We also know that things are gonna get a little more complicated when you move into the essential workers is pretty easy when you're talking 65 above and a health care worker. But it will get a little more complicated when we go into central workers and defining those. I think what we want is for there to be some discretion locally about who would fall into that category. We're gonna give good good guidance. The bottom line is that we want to get vaccine quickly into arms, and we don't want too much complexity to stop that from happening. Dr. Cornel let you elaborate, Laura, You're asking the exact right questions and in fact, we will have additional guidance going out to our employers. The employers of our frontline essential workers to talk about what they can do to right now, start to get their their folks ready. So there are ways in which we hope that employers do partner with our local health departments with our hospitals and other vaccine providers, because this is going to be a bit more complex than just pure going by age alone. Eso We're still working through some of the details, but dio know that we're putting out some additional guidance. I hope as soon as this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow morning. Thank you. Next question, please. Next question is from Katie, perhaps to show off with Axios. Charlotte. Good afternoon. Governor Cooper. This is Katie Peralta again from XY. Oh, Charlotte, um, had a question for you about non hospital system vaccine providers. There have been a number of private HCP soup who have applied to the state to be cove in 19 distribute vaccine distributor. Excuse me. Try on Medical in Charlotte, which has about 155,000 patients is one example. Um, what is the timeline for approving groups like that? And what role do you see these groups playing and helping to speed up vaccinations around the state? We eventually we want as many qualified providers as we can get because our hope is that, uh, Mawr vaccine is going to be manufactured that mawr different brands are gonna be authorized, and we're gonna have mawr. And the Department of Health and Human Services is working right now to go through all of that. They're taking on providers as we speak. And I think that the ones that you talked about, they will be considering all of those because we do want a very broad provider network, but I'll let Dr Cohen elaborate on that. Hi, Katie. Governor is exactly right. So as we've been talking about this week, we know our vaccine supply is so limited. Um, we know that we're not even sending enough vaccine to all of the providers we have already enrolled and already, uh, having ramped up their capacity, our providers last week did nearly 300001st doses. But we know on a go forward basis, even with the bump up from the federal government we heard about last night, we're only getting about 140,000 vaccines for the entire state. So we know that that's going to have some limitations for all of our providers. So thinking about bringing on new providers, we want to be very strategic about it. We need to see where there are fewer access points and bring on those providers where we see lower access points and particularly target. Um, those providers who we know serve are are traditionally underserved. Communities are historically marginalized communities across our state. So our team is going through that process. What I hope is our our providers across the state get enrolled, get trained on our our i T systems so they can be at the ready. As the governor said, we want to be in a posture of saying, bring us more vaccine here in North Carolina. Send us more vaccine. Federal government were ready to to ramp up. Um, And so I think that's the work we need to do now is to get our providers ready. Um, for when there will be more more vaccine. But as far as new providers coming online, it is going to have to be targeted. Um, in the near term, just given the limited supply we have. Thanks. Next Western Police. Our next question is from Dawn Bond with the News and Observer. Thanks. John von with a newsman server. Um, what about the timing of the extensions on these orders? Um, and any changes because of the federal government and the new administration? Um, why did why? It's face three through February. But then the mixed drinks through March. Will you spend things out like that or make say, the mass mandate? If you know that needed through may just make that now, um and then with schools and asking the school district to study the data. Um, when can there be any sort of expectation of a timeline on that inspired and mention May for when he wants school Substance? Well, first with schools. I know the State Board of Education is looking at the data. Health experts are looking at it. We're talking toe local superintendents. I think that's gonna be really important is for the dates of the order. Uh, we wanted to go ahead and give a month for the keeping of the protocols in place to protect the public. Always, if we look at numbers and we see things getting better and better, we could always move in and remove some of those protocols. But with the data as it is right now, we wanted to make sure that we had a period of time where we could continue to look at the data and make sure that we're protecting North Carolinians and send a strong signal that we still got a lot to do. As we're trying to vaccinate people, we've got to take the steps to to protect people at the same time on the mixed drink beverage order way did that order until thean end of March. Thio give businesses Ah, lot of predictability is toe what they can do. We believe that this is a good economic boost for those businesses that have really been struggling. Those that have indoor entertainment, indoor dining where people have to take off their mask. Uh, those are the places that have really been hit hard by this virus, and we wanted to make sure that they have additional income during this period of time. Next question, please. Our next question is from Andrea Blandford with ABC 11. Hi, Governor. We just learned yesterday that the states plan to give providers a predictable baseline amount of first doses that they could expect for the next three weeks. So how is that plan changing now that North Carolina will get more vaccine from the federal government over the next three weeks? Not much. We're glad to have the 16% but we're gonna go from 120,000 doses to 140,000 doses. So the staff will make decisions about giving the providers a little bit mawr, and they're working through those numbers right now so that they can let providers know we're glad for this edition. But as Dr Cohen said earlier, they worked very hard to get all of these first doses off the shelf and get with providers who could, who could do the job to get shots and arms so we could show the federal government that North Carolina was ready for more vaccine and they've done that. But now we're going to see a reduction because we are only gonna have 140001st. Really, there's a few of the first doses in 140,000 because 140,000 includes some second doses as well. And by the way, a lot of people look at the CDC data tracker. Uh, when you see a certain percentage that the state has administered, remember that the state has toe hold back, uh, for three and four weeks, whether it's Madonna or Pfizer for the second dose, because part of what we receive is the second dose is well, so ah, lot of people will get a little bit mawr. But we're gonna continue to work hard to get these vaccines out quickly and efficiently and equitably so that we can continue to take Maurren. Thank you. Won't have something. Okay, Sorry. Let me Let me just, uh Andrea Further clarify. So the 140,000 that we're not we are going to get every week are all all first doses. Eso those are all first doses. We will still get our second doses in our normal allocation. That will mirror 2 to 3 weeks later from what we get for our first doses. So we get 140,000 now for the next three weeks. Because of that, we're gonna be able to give a little bit more to sort of this baseline minimum allocation that we're guaranteeing to our vaccine providers for the next three weeks. So a little bit more, we were at 84,000. We're gonna get closer to 90,000, so it's good, but we're still talking about pretty small numbers here. Then we're gonna use that difference between the 90 and the 1 40 to make sure we're getting balance across our state. We want to see how many doses that were giving for population. We wanna make sure we're reaching our historically marginalized populations, and we wanna make sure that we are going with folks who are ready to distribute this vaccine against speed continues to be a priority s so that we can continue to demonstrate to the federal government that we are ready for more vaccine. I'm hopeful that with the announcement yesterday from the federal government of getting some more vaccine for the next three weeks that there is an opportunity for us if we can keep demonstrating that we can get through our first doses of vaccine that we're ready to take on more so a little more to that baseline guarantee that folks are gonna get for the next three weeks. And then we will use the rest to fill in to make sure we're balancing across our population, going with folks who are using alternative community sites to reach our historically marginalized populations. Thank you. Thanks for that, Dr. Cohen. Next question, please. We will follow up. Andrea Blandford, ABC 11. Yeah. Thank you for clarifying that. And Governor, one more question for you, because you mentioned earlier this afternoon that you're encouraging providers to move to an appointment on Lee Protocol. Can you elaborate on that? Are you planning on making that mandatory statewide to cut back on some of these long lines that we've seen. We're not saying appointment only. We're just encouraging appointments and also encouraging once you fill up appointments for the anticipated vaccine that you're going to get. We're also encouraging waiting list so that people can understand that their name is on and that their name can be called soon. So there will still be events that are not appointments. But we encourage that because, uh, that it's much more positive. The vaccine provider really knows what they have and how much that they need to distribute, so that's what we're doing. Next question. Please come on. Our final question is from, well, Michael's with W U N C Hi Governor, will, Michael. So W U N C. If I may just build off of Flora and sh Richards questions, um, how much oversight does the state health department have when it comes to equitable over local health providers when it comes to equitable distribution? In other words, is there a mechanism by which you contract, or do you actually know how many doses are going to the current priority groups and how many might be going to other priority groups or friends and family of clinic staff who may be on, say, a last minute wait list. How do you hold providers accountable? Well, first, when we say equitable, we also mean making sure that vaccines get to underserved communities. And that's something that's in the plan and its instructions to providers. And that's something that the state will know whether they've been able to do. And I think everybody's working together. But the state is gonna be working to insist on that. And I'll let Dr Cohen address the the various groups. Mhm. Hi. Well, thanks for that question. So, yes, we work very closely with all of our vaccine providers again, As I keep saying, we want folks to be, uh, working on prioritizing folks who are 65 up and health care workers right now. And so we'll continue to reiterate that. But at the same time, we recognize on the ground realities we need to be open and flexible. So we we encourage folks who feel like they are moving on to the next group. Pleased to have a conversation with our team. So we understand. Um, what what their plan is are they honoring appointments that already were in place? Or is there something else that they're seeing on the ground that we're not seeing? And so we're asking those questions of our providers right now, So we know as a state when we need to move into this next, um, phase of prioritization. And what I would say is we're also working towards a place where where we can be transparent with everyone about our race, ethnicity, gender, age, data down to the county level. As you know, that data is already on our dashboard at the state level. Our providers need that data so that they can make sure that they're targeting their efforts appropriately. So we hope to have that by the end of next week on our dashboard. Thank you. There's a follow up. Well, uh, yes. My follow of Dr Coleman is just Does the state health department have any similar oversights over the federal program for distributing vaccines to nursing homes or long term care facilities? Um, do you Do you have any similar oversight or is that federal government only federal government is managing our long term care vaccination programs through there to vendor CVS and Walgreens. Their parameters air pretty specific to say that they should be vaccinating healthcare workers who work at the long term care facilities as well as the residents, so that those parameters are pretty clear. But at the end of the day, we do not want NT any vaccine wasted. And because of the shipping and handling of these vaccines, when you take them out of the freezer, you can't put them back in so we don't want vaccine wasted. But going out of a priority order should be a very unusual circumstance. It should not be the thing that is happening each and every time, but we do not want vaccine wasted. So we we recognize that there are some places where we want to just make sure that we get vaccine into arms and not wasting it, but at all other times really need to focus on those priority groups. Thank you. Thank you for being with us today and stay safe. Everyone. Ah,