NC Coronavirus update August 23: FDA approval of Pfizer COVID vaccine could happen as early as Monday. officials say

NC Coronavirus update August 23: FDA approval of Pfizer COVID vaccine could happen as early as Monday. officials say


RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
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Thousands of central North Carolina students are headed back to the classroom this morning. Keep up with the latest back-to-school coverage for the Triangle and Sandhills here.

Full US Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is “imminent,” a senior federal official told CNN on Friday — but said no date has been mentioned.

A person familiar with the plan told CNN the decision is expected early next week, and a Biden administration official said approval of the two-dose vaccine “could be as early as Monday.”


8 p.m.
In less than 24 hours many central North Carolina students will be returning to class Monday; however, there are many anxieties for in-person learning as COVID-19 cases are trending up.

To support return to school efforts, Jubilee Christian Church International in Durham hosted a backpack giveaway.

Most central North Carolina schools will require masks upon return including schools like Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Johnston and Orange counties.

Durham Public Schools will implement many safety measures including:

  • Students will be spread out as much as possible.
  • Fresh air will be circulated regularly on buses and in classrooms.
  • And contract tracing will be managed-students testing positive and those in close contact will quarantine.

10:20 a.m.
UNC has reported a COVID-19 cluster in Avery Residence Hall, saying there are currently five active cases.

Keep up with the latest COVID-19 updates at UNC here.

4:40 p.m.
The Hopscotch Music Festival held in downtown Raleigh announced that it will now require attendees to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 or be able to present negative COVID-19 test results to attend the festival.

The festival is to be held Sept. 9 to Sept. 11.

4:25 p.m.
Clinton City Schools will require all students, staff, parents and visitors to wear a mask while indoors and within a closed environment such as classrooms, offices, media centers, etc.

Masks will not be required during short transitional times throughout the day, including arrival to school, transitions to another classroom, bathroom or area of the school facility, and afternoon departure. Clinton City Schools will not require masks indoors when students are engaged in physical activity.

There are other exceptions to the face-covering requirement:

  • people who because of any medical or behavioral condition or disability, including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance;
  • anyone actively eating or drinking;
  • anyone who is seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible;
  • anyone who is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience;

Clinton City Schools will require masks to be worn by all individuals being transported on any CCS school or activity bus.

Face coverings/masks will be provided to all students, staff, parents and visitors who need them.

The measure was unanimously approved by the Clinton City Schools Board of Education on Friday during the Board’s emergency meeting.

4 p.m.
Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Glenaire Healthcare Center – Skilled Nursing Facility, at 4000 Glenaire Circle in Cary.

This is the facility’s fourth outbreak. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two or more people – residents or employees – testing positive for the virus.

3:57 p.m.
The City of Goldsboro said that employees and visitors – regardless of vaccination status – will be required to wear face coverings at all city facilities. This requirement begins Monday.

City employees and visitors will be required to wear a face-covering/mask when within 6 feet of another person inside City facilities or City vehicles unless an exception identified in a current NC Governor Executive Order applies.

2:56 p.m.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 96 into law.

The bill allows pharmacists to administer injectable drugs.

“This important legislation will help our state administer COVID-19 vaccines more quickly and efficiently,” Cooper said.

2:37 p.m.
The Durham VA Health Care System is offering third doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to immunosuppressed Veterans currently enrolled in VA care.

Vaccines are available to enrolled Veterans who meet criteria as recommended by CDC including:

  • Veterans receiving active treatment for cancer
  • Veterans on immunosuppressive medications after solid organ transplant or stem cell transplant
  • Veterans that have had a stem cell transplant in the last 2 years
  • Veterans with advanced or untreated HIV
  • Veterans who are receiving active treatment with high-dose steroids (e.g. prednisone 20mg/day or higher), TNF blockers, biologic medications, and certain other immunosuppressive medications

Veterans who believe they meet one of these criteria should reach out to the provider who is treating them for their medical condition.

Vaccine clinics are open Monday through Friday.

  • Pfizer is available in the Durham Medical Center Atrium at 508 Fulton St. Durham, NC 27705
  • Moderna is available in the Greenville Health Care Center at 401 Moye Blvd. Greenville, NC
  • Moderna is also being offered at the Raleigh 3 CBOC – 2600 Atlantic Ave STE 200, Raleigh, NC 27604

COVID vaccines at Raleigh 3 are available by appointment only. Veterans can call 919-286-0411, then “0” to schedule an appointment at the Raleigh 3 CBOC.

Durham VA Medical Center and Greenville Health Care Center are accepting walk-ups from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Durham and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Greenville.

Veterans are asked not to come to a vaccine clinic if they have not confirmed that their provider has placed an order for the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Veterans must bring their original vaccination cards with them.

2:30 p.m.
Beginning today, Cape Fear Valley Health’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be offering third-dose shots for immunocompromised individuals. Booster doses for non-immunocompromised individuals who have gone at least 8 months since their second dose will be available starting Sept. 20.

People must self-attest that they are immunocompromised. These additional third-dose shots are only for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Immunocompromised patients must be at least 28 days post their second dose to receive their third dose. When available after Sept. 20, non-immunocompromised patients must be at least 8 months post their second dose to receive a new booster.

Walk-ins are welcome at Cape Fear Valley Health’s clinics but appointments are preferred for first or third doses.

You can make an appointment here.
Appointments are open through Sept. 17.

Vaccine Clinic Locations and Hours:

  • Health Pavilion North ExpressCare in North Fayetteville, 6387 Ramsey St.:

Pfizer first and third doses: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred.
Pfizer second doses: May walk in (no appointment required) Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Second dose vaccinations should return to the same location as their first vaccine.

  • Express Care in Elizabethtown:

Closed for COVID-19 vaccinations, but still open for Express care visits. Please use Bladen Hospital Main Lobby vaccine clinic.

  • Reopened: Bladen Hospital Main Lobby in Elizabethtown, 107 E. Dunham St.:

Walk-ins are welcome until clinic capacity is reached.
Pfizer first, second and third doses: Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Hoke Pharmacy in Raeford, 300 Medical Pavilion Drive, Suite 100:

Pfizer first and third doses: Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred.
Second doses: May walk in (no appointment required) Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Center Pharmacy in downtown Fayetteville, 101 Robeson St., Suite 107

Pfizer first and third doses: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred.
Second doses: May walk in (no appointment required) Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

1 p.m.
Sixty-four more people are hospitalized with COVID-19 today than yesterday, pushing the total number up to 3,147.

Another 6,631 people tested positive for the virus, but the percent positive rate again dropped to 11.9%. However, that remains well above the 5% goal that state health leaders have previously identified as a good benchmark to be under.

There were also 54 more people who died from the virus, bringing the total up to 14,059.

9:45 a.m.
Plum Southern Kitchen & Bar in Durham will require everyone who wants to eat inside the restaurant to prove they’ve been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours.

That requirement begins Sept. 3.

Outdoor seating will be available to anyone, regardless of vaccination status.

“Thank you for honoring this policy. We deeply appreciate your desire to keep us safe and the larger community healthy and open for business,” the restaurant said in a social media post.

Mask mandates go back into effect in five Wake County towns starting at 7 a.m.

Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon — as well as all unincorporated areas of the county — will require everybody, regardless of vaccine status, to wear masks in indoor public places.

Raleigh and Cary restarted their masks mandates days ago.

Farther south in Fayetteville, a new mask mandate will go into effect at 5 p.m. today.

These mask mandates are coming back as the state reports troubling COVID-19 metrics.

For the first time since February, the state reported more than 7,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day. Plus, 3,083 people are now in the hospital being treated for the virus.

UNC Health said it is currently treating 400 COVID-19 patients–a number that’s up from about 50 in late June.

“We’re doing our best to stretch and take care of everyone. We’ve also decreased our elective procedures, and some of them are even time-sensitive, to limit the number of in-patient beds,” UNC Rex Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Linda Butler said.

More than 14,000 people have died from the virus since the pandemic started more than a year ago.

WATCH: Dr. Alexa Mieses-Malchuck answers common questions parents have about their children returning to class.

1:56 p.m.
The Halifax County Health Department reports 193 new cases for a total of 6,183 total positive COVID-19 cases since March 2020.

In all, 116 deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been reported in the county. That’s 1.90% of all cases.

12:30 p.m.
North Carolina reports 7,020 new COVID-19 cases, but the daily percent positive rate actually went down.

Daily positive cases have not reached 7,000 since Feb. 1. Yesterday’s metrics reported 5,256 new cases. This same day last year, North Carolina reported 1,218 new cases.

However, despite the jump in cases, the rate of positive cases actually dropped from 13.2% to 12.3%–meaning the state saw a jump in the total number of tests completed.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus jumped from 2,930 yesterday to 3,083 today. That’s the most since Jan. 28.

There were also 53 more people who died from the virus.

9:20 a.m.
Just a week into the school year, over 10,000 students and staff in the Hillsborough County Public Schools district in Florida have been isolated or quarantined as districts across the state grapple with COVID-19.

Hillsborough is the seventh-largest school district in the U.S., with more than 213,000 students. As of Wednesday, 10,384 students and 338 staffers are isolated or under quarantine, the district told ABC News.

In total, there were 1,805 COVID-19 cases among students and staff, according to the Tampa-area district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Read the full story here.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said North Carolina hospitals are strained with every county in the state seeing high levels of transmission.

New mask mandates take effect in five Wake County towns starting Friday morning.

The mandate includes unincorporated areas of the county as well as Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon.

Fayetteville is also reinstating an indoor mask mandate. That goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

Nursing homes and residential care facilities are once again struggling with the pandemic. In North Carolina, nearly 200 ongoing outbreaks are happening at those facilities.

The Biden Administration announced it would begin requiring those facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to have all of their workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing federal funding.

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