A healthcare worker with American Medical Response, Inc working with the Florida Department of Health in Broward administers a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to Cydne Fuller at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community on January 6, 2021 in Pompano Beach, Florida.  The community administered the 2nd vaccine to 90 skilled nursing residents and 80 healthcare staff completing the inoculation for them. An additional 50 healthcare staff received their first dose of the vaccine. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Coronavirus Vaccine
A healthcare worker with American Medical Response, Inc working with the Florida Department of Health in Broward administers a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to Cydne Fuller at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community on January 6, 2021 in Pompano Beach, Florida. The community administered the 2nd vaccine to 90 skilled nursing residents and 80 healthcare staff completing the inoculation for them. An additional 50 healthcare staff received their first dose of the vaccine. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As the state rolls out the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations, Gov. Roy Cooper extended the state’s curfew and called for vigilance.

With the spread of COVID-19 posing deadly threats just as a vaccine is being rolled out, people need to stay home as much as possible, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday.

Cooper extended the 10 pm curfew for the state’s residents through Jan. 29.

Ninety-six of the state’s 100 counties are now in the red or orange zones, meaning there is “critical” or “substantial virus spread,” according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. 

Additionally, hospital beds are filling up, with each day this week bringing a record number of hospitalizations.  The disease has killed 7,076 people in the state.

“No matter where you live, work, worship or play COVID-19 remains a deadly threat,” Cooper said. “And we got to treat it that way.”

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Cooper Extends Curfew
Gov. Roy Cooper extended NC’s coronavirus curfew Wednesday as new cases and hospitalizations spiked. (Image via NC DPS)

Cooper enacted the curfew last month as part of an extended stay-at-home measure, which requires most businesses in the state to shut their doors by 10 p.m. Exemptions include pharmacies and grocery stores. Residents are largely required to stay at their homes between 10 pm and 5 am, with exceptions for those who work during those hours and may need to buy essential items.  

Those restrictions come in addition to a statewide mandate to wear masks in public, and a statewide order stopping alcohol sales at 9 pm.

Vaccines are just starting to be distributed across the state to health care workers, residents and staff of long-term staff, and elderly North Carolinians over the age of 75. The rollout has been slower than expected, and chaotic in some counties as limited slots for seniors fill up quickly.

As of Wednesday, there had been 137,158 initial doses of the two-dose vaccines distributed across North Carolina, according to CDC data. That means 1,308 out of every 100,000 people in the state have been vaccinated, lagging behind Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and other neighboring states

On Tuesday, Cooper activated the NC National Guard to aid in distribution.

While some county public health departments have already begun offering vaccines to those over age 75, all of the state’s health districts should be doing that by next week, said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

That doesn’t mean every eligible person will be able to get a vaccine, she warned, and urged people to be patient as supplies of the vaccine increase and continue to be pushed out.

“Vaccine supplies are very limited,” she said, adding that doctor’s offices are not yet equipped to offer it.

People can find out where they can get a vaccine in their area through this NC DHHS website, or by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-490-6642.

NC DHHS also announced this week that through the end of June it will send more funds to those receiving food stamps, using money that came out of the recent federal COVID relief package. Those who receive help from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) should see an increase of 15% in their distribution. People in need of help can apply for food stamps here.