Coronavirus: Cooper order expires Sunday; Bladen teachers, day-care workers to begin vaccinations

Alan Wooten, Bladen Journal, Elizabethtown, N.C.
·6 min read

Feb. 22—ELIZABETHTOWN — Gov. Roy Cooper's lockdown on North Carolina comes up for renewal or to be rescinded in some way on Sunday.

The second-term Democrat, embattled by his handling of public schools reopening, has an executive order set to expire that among other things includes a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., halts evictions, and allows for curbside alcohol sales.

His setbacks with schools may not be the only one.

Over the weekend, a judge was yet to rule in a lawsuit involving Club 519 in Greenville that could lead to the reopening of bars. Superior Court Judge James Gale, presiding in "Waldron v. Cooper," asked of the governor's litigation team, "What is there inherently different about a bar than a restaurant that justifies the distinction? Don't keep telling me, 'Bars in general.' I'm asking you: Can you tell me — can you isolate something about bars specifically. ... I'm begging you — if you've got it — to give me the evidence."

The state has been in some form of lockdown since Cooper declared a state of emergency last March. He closed schools beginning March 16, instituted a 30-day lockdown through April, and set up a three phase reopening plan that he didn't keep. Numbers over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were far worse than during the summer and fall, and remain so now even as he reversed course to encourage schools to restart in-person instruction.

Public schools never reopened a year ago, and this academic year have been open in varying degrees. Emereau: Bladen Charter School has had the most in-person instruction days of the public schools in Bladen County.

In Monday's daily reports, the county logged seven new cases and two recoveries. The active case total is at 107, with five people hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began, Bladen has had 38 deaths, 2,896 cases and 2,751 recoveries.

Vaccination series are complete for 8.8 percent of the county and 6.5 percent of the state, the Department of Health and Human Services reported in its daily update. In the county, there have been 2,866 people to get the two-shot vaccination series, and 4,638 have received the first dose. Statewide, there have been 676,572 people to complete the series and 1,226,758 to get the first shot.

The Bladen County Health Department will begin teacher and day-care worker vaccinations on Wednesday and also has clinics scheduled for them on Thursday and Friday.

A release from Dr. Terri Duncan of the Health Department says, "Bladen County Health Department partnered with Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Health Care to provide vaccinations for all public and private schools, as well as daycare staff. The Bladen County public school staff, charter school staff and many private school staff have been scheduled for vaccine appointments. Directors of schools or day cares that have not scheduled appointments are encouraged to call the Bladen County Health Department hotline 910-872-4430 for assistance."

The DHHS postal ZIP code report lists 981 cases in Elizabethtown and White Lake since the pandemic began; 707 in Bladenboro; 383 in Clarkton; 330 in East Arcadia; 151 in Tar Heel; 148 in White Oak; 79 in Council; and 59 in Kelly.

There are 20 fatalities listed for the ZIP in Elizabethtown and White Lake. There have been six in Bladenboro; five in East Arcadia; two each in Clarkton, Council and White Oak; and one each in Tar Heel and Kelly. The Dublin ZIP code disappeared from the state report on Jan. 29.

Monday's totals from the state included:

—10,934 deaths, up eight from Sunday's noon report.

—844,770 cases, up 2,133.

—1,567 hospitalized, down 80.

—9,964,355 tests, up 37,777.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health conditions, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

In Bladen County, the ages 25-49 category has had 38 percent of the cases, 50-64 has 22 percent, 18-24 has 11 percent, 17-and-under has 13 percent, 65-74 has 11 percent and 75-or-older has 6 percent. Ages for 22 of 38 deaths are suppressed; six are ages 75-and-older, three are ages 65-74, five are ages 50-64, and two are ages 25-49.

Statewide, the ages 25-49 category has had 39 percent of the cases, 50-64 has 20 percent, 18-24 has 14 percent, 17-and-under has 12 percent, 65-74 has 8 percent and 75-or-older has 7 percent. Of the fatalities, ages 75-and-older has made up 60 percent, 65-74 has 23 percent, 50-64 has 13 percent and 25-49 has 3 percent.

In adjacent counties to Bladen, there have been 744 deaths and 55,389 cases. Cumberland has 260 deaths and 23,610 cases; Robeson has 199 deaths and 14,927 cases; Columbus has 141 deaths and 5,716 cases; Sampson has 89 deaths and 6,590 cases; and Pender has 55 deaths and 4,546 cases.

Congregate living settings in North Carolina have totaled 4,935 deaths and 65,882 positive cases. Outbreaks have been identified and are active at 337 nursing homes, 284 residential care facilities, 85 correctional institutions and four other facilities. Of those, 17 are in Cumberland, 14 in Robeson, six in Columbus, four each in Sampson and Pender, and three in Bladen.

Cumberland has four clusters, and Robeson has one.

With 94 percent of the state's hospitals reporting, DHHS says there is availability of 75 percent of the ventilators, 25 percent of the intensive care unit beds and 30 percent of all hospital beds.

In the personal protective equipment category, all categories are at least four months.

A combined 13 metropolitan counties have the state's three largest cities and account for 37.6 percent of the deaths (4,113) and 46 percent of the cases (388,646).

In the Charlotte area, Mecklenburg County has 838 deaths and 95,109 positive cases, Gaston County has 373 deaths and 23,335 cases, Rowan County has 269 deaths and 14,613 cases, Cabarrus County has 228 deaths and 18,105 cases, and Union County has 191 deaths and 20,313 cases — a total of 1,899 deaths and 171,475 cases.

In and near the Triangle area, Wake County has 519 deaths and 73,195 cases, Durham County has 201 deaths and 21,245 cases, Johnston County has 181 deaths and 17,483 cases, and Orange County has 93 deaths and 7,586 cases — a total of 994 deaths and 119,509 cases.

In the interior of the 12-county Piedmont Triad, Guilford County has 537 deaths and 39,089 cases, Forsyth County has 338 deaths and 31,256 cases, Randolph County has 196 deaths and 12,874 cases, and Davidson County has 149 deaths and 14,443 cases — a total of 1,220 deaths and 97,662 cases.

According to the coronavirus tracker of Johns Hopkins University, available on BladenJournal.com, more than 28.1 million confirmed cases and 499,000 deaths are counted in the U.S. The second-highest case total is in India, with more than 11 million.

There have been more than 111.6 million cases worldwide, with more than 2.4 million deaths.

Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or awooten@bladenjournal.com. Twitter: @alanwooten19.