Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force will share updates on COVID-19 at 2 PM today. Watch live here:

— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 15, 2020

At 7:20 a.m. on Monday, December 14, a UPS driver named Danny Parson became part of history.

Parson delivered the first doses of Pfizer’s newly-approved COVID-19 vaccine to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem yesterday morning.

It was the first delivery of the in the state, and reportedly the first delivery in the country.

Since then, 10 more hospitals across the state have received doses of the vaccines for their employees. Forty-two more will receive doses by Thursday. On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper provided an update on how the vaccine’s rollout will begin.

First in line for the vaccine will be healthcare workers who are working with COVID-19 patients, as well as staff and patients at long-term care facilities.

A Moderna vaccine is also drawing closer to federal approval and Cooper said it could be approved as early as Thursday. The state is anticipating a shipment of 175,000 doses of their vaccine early next week.

Both Cooper and Mandy Cohen, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, say they won’t know the number of vaccines the state will receive until the Friday before shipment. They each expressed frustration with this plan, saying it only gives the department a few hours to direct shipments to the right hospitals. Cooper says he mentioned this in a national meeting between Mike Pence and state governors Monday.

North Carolina’s cases have jumped in the weeks since Thanksgiving. There have been 446,601 cases of COVID-19 since March, and with over 5,000 new cases reported Tuesday. Currently, 2,735 people are hospitalized and nearly 5,900 North Carolinians have died since the pandemic began.

As of Tuesday, the state’s County Alert System shows that 48 counties are in the “red zone,” classified as the highest tier for a community spread with at least 200 cases per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks. Thirty-four counties are in the middle tier, including Wake and Durham counties. Orange County is among only 18 counties are in the “lowest” tier, with less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. 

Cooper, Cohen, and Secretary Erik Hooks sent a letter to local elected officials in all 100 counties encouraging them to enforce the state’s current stay-at-home order and possibly consider tighter restrictions for their specific area. The trio encouraged municipalities to fine people and businesses that violate COVID-19 guidelines, or to enforce other civil penalties.

In the midst of the holidays, Cooper mentioned that COVID-19 tests should be taken before traveling, but still maintains that the best option is for everyone to stay within their households.

“With an end in sight, let’s come together and work hard these next few months to keep ourselves and our families safe,” Cooper said. “I know we can do this.”

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