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Health Department COVID-19 Testing Sites Suspended, Cases Being Prioritized

by Jared Thompson | Jan 04, 2021
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health announced today that it is suspending its COVID-19 testing sites until further notice so that the department can scale up vaccination efforts.

The Cumberland County Department of Public Health announced today that it is suspending its COVID-19 testing sites until further notice so that the department can scale up vaccination efforts.

As of Dec. 18, the department had free COVID-19 testing twice a week at Manna Church (Cliffdale Road) and Second Missionary Baptist Church. 

“There are many other test locations in Cumberland County that are free and are open to the public,” said Cumberland County Public Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green. “The suspension of the testing sites will allow us to shift our staff to vaccination sites.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) hosts free testing sites at Manna Dream Center on Wednesdays and New Life Bible Church on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The department is working to get a vendor through NCDHHS to get three additional testing sites in the county.

Cumberland County currently has more than 20 COVID-19 testing locations. To find one near you, visit co.cumberland.nc.us/covid19.  You can also visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website to find a free testing place near you.

COVID-19 in the Community

Currently, Cumberland County has a total of 14,430 COVID-19 cases and 140 deaths. In the last seven days, there have been 1,087 positive cases with a daily average of about 160 cases.

The county’s case positivity rate is at 15.4%. The target rate recommended by the World Health Organization is 5%.

Case Prioritization

Because of the rising number of positive tests, case investigations and contact tracing will be prioritized. Most recently reported cases, cases linked to a cluster/outbreak and cases known to be living in a congregate or healthcare setting, including hospitalizations will be prioritized first. All cases of COVID-19 must still be reported to the local health department or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

The Health Department will deprioritize cases after 10 days from the date the specimen has been collected.

“The last lab result that comes in will be investigated first,” said Dr. Green. “The goal of prioritization is to maximize COVID-19 prevention success by focusing health department resources on investigating and tracing the close contacts of cases most at risk of large-scale transmission events.”

Case Notifications

NCDHHS issued updated case investigation and contact tracing guidance to help prioritize cases. All residents who have provided a cell phone or email address will receive an automatic text or email message to connect people to follow-up resources and supports.

People receiving a text or email will be directed to a secure website that provides additional information about how to protect themselves and their loved ones, how to get support if needed to safely isolate, and how to contact someone immediately for additional information.

Vaccination Rollout Plan

A tested, safe and effective vaccine will be available to all who want it, but initial supplies are limited. The health department received more than 3,500 doses of Pfizer and Moderna.

Currently, Cumberland County is in Phase 1a of the vaccination plan. This phase vaccinates public health and health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents.

Phase 1b is expected to begin Jan. 11 and will be given in the following order:

  • Group 1: Anyone 75 years and older
  • Group 2: Health care workers (not vaccinated in Phase 1a) and frontline essential workers 50 years and older (estimated to begin late January)
  • Group 3: Health care workers (not vaccinated in Phase 1a) and frontline essential workers (as defined above) of any age (estimated to begin in early February)

Final dates and times are still to be determined. Visit co.cumberland.nc.us/covid19vaccine for the most recent information.

Phase 2 will begin shortly after phase 1b in the following order:

Group 1: Anyone 65-75 years old

Group 2: Anyone aged 16 to 64 years with one or more high-risk medical conditions, as defined by CDC

Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other congregate settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function

Group 4: Essential workers who have not yet been vaccinated in Phase 1b

Staying Updated

Cumberland County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes. The county is also sharing important information on its FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts.

 

 

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