Afternoon Observer: March 2

Kristen Kornbluth
·3 min read

Good afternoon, Charlotteans. Kristen here. Looking for a riveting evening listen or something to put on while you make dinner tonight? Check out Return Man, a podcast series about an NFL player from Lancaster, SC and his tragic death from our colleagues at the Rock Hill Herald. Episode 6 went live today, so it’s a great time to get caught up before the final episode drops next week. Have you listened to the series? Let me know what you think.

Now, let’s talk about today’s news:

1. NC opens COVID vaccines to frontline workers early

Ready to secure your appointment? Thousands in Charlotte will soon be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. How soon? This Wednesday. That’s a week earlier than originally planned, as the Observer’s Hannah Smoot and Catherine Muccigrosso report.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the change in schedule Tuesday in a news conference. North Carolina had already expanded eligibility to teachers, child care workers and school staff starting on Feb. 24. Now, the rest of Group 3 will be able to join them in making appointments to get vaccinated.

Who’s in Group 3? The cohort includes:

  • Grocery store workers

  • Law enforcement and firefighters

  • College and university staff, restaurant workers and more frontline workers.

Important to note: you must be working in person to be eligible for the vaccine in Group 3. More details are available on the NCDHHS site.

2. How the new vaccine schedule will affect Meck

A patient of the C.W. Williams Community Health Center receives a COVID vaccination during a drive through event on Friday, January 22, 2021. C.W. Williams Community Health Center, along with the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department offered patients of the health center COVID vaccinations through appointments.
A patient of the C.W. Williams Community Health Center receives a COVID vaccination during a drive through event on Friday, January 22, 2021. C.W. Williams Community Health Center, along with the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department offered patients of the health center COVID vaccinations through appointments.

Mecklenburg County is opening up COVID-19 vaccine appointments for March 10 through March 31, and frontline essential workers in Group 3 are eligible to sign up for those appointments for the first time in the county, according to leaders. Anyone eligible for vaccines — including those newly eligible in Group 3 — can begin booking those appointments starting Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

What else you need to know:

  • North Carolina will move to Group 4 on March 24, according to Gov. Cooper. That begins with people with high-risk medical conditions, people experiencing homelessness and incarcerated people who have not been vaccinated.

  • As of Tuesday, North Carolina has reported 863,409 cases and 11,288 deaths.

Find more information on today’s developments here from reporter Hannah Smoot.

3. Joel Odom, an activist, hero from Beatties Ford dies at 22

Joel Odom Jr. grew up near Beatties Ford Road and was a staunch advocate for his community.
Joel Odom Jr. grew up near Beatties Ford Road and was a staunch advocate for his community.

Joel Odom was raised in the historically-Black Beatties Ford neighborhood of Charlotte and became engaged in politics from a young age. The young activist was found dead at his home by his father on Thursday, Feb. 25, according to family. Details about his death are currently unclear. While he’s perhaps best known publicly for running for mayor while he was 20, those who knew him closely, like his grandmother, say his true legacy is that he was “just a loving person. Nothing bad could ever be said about him.”

Reporter Devna Bose spoke with multiple people who had a close bond with Odom to shine some light on his life. The result of these conversations is both a resounding lamenting of his passing and also a joyful celebration of his life. I highly recommend giving this a read.

Get in the game: Charlotte sports talkers

What’s happening in the Charlotte-area sports world? We’ve got you covered:

Looking for more sports coverage? You can find it here.

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