• 84°

Major North Carolina hospital systems to require staff to get COVID-19 vaccine

By Bryan Anderson, Associated Press/Report for America

The North Carolina Healthcare Association announced on Thursday that several of the state’s largest hospital systems will require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to continue working at their facilities.

The sites that will soon mandate vaccinations for workers include Duke University Health network and several UNC Health hospitals.

Other hospital systems that will compel staff to get the vaccine will include Charlotte-based Atrium Health, Greensboro-based Cone Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Winston-Salem based Novant Health.

“Hospital and health system employee vaccination against COVID-19 is vital to safely care for patients by protecting them from infection, and to mitigate the spread of the virus within healthcare facilities and among clinicians, patients and their families and friends,” the group wrote in a message to its 130 members.

The move comes as North Carolina decided on Wednesday to eliminate its statewide mask starting July 30. The state has seen a surge in cases and hospitalizations fueled by the more lethal delta variant.

On May 6, most adult residents had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The office told The Associated Press on Thursday that 94% of cases and deaths reported between May 6 and July 11 have been among people not fully vaccinated.

The latest state data shows 54% of residents eligible for a shot are fully vaccinated, less than the national average of 57% of Americans 12 and older being fully immunized, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Vaccination rates are far lower in several North Carolina counties. In Hoke County, a rural area outside of Fayetteville, less than 1 in 4 residents have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot.

North Carolinians 12 years of age or older are eligible for a COVID-19 shot, which are widely available and free of charge. At participating vaccination sites, unvaccinated adults who come in for their first dose can get $25. Drivers who bring someone in for their initial shot also qualify for the prepaid Mastercard.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s top public health official, praised the association for encouraging hospitals to compel their workers to get vaccinated.

“Thank you to the North Carolina Healthcare Association, and the health systems that are leading the way requiring vaccination for employees, for taking action to protect the health care workforce, their patients, our communities and the state,” Cohen said in a news release. “Vaccinations are our way out of the pandemic. Don’t wait to vaccinate.”

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Cooper announces reward for information on Guilford County murder

Opioid settlement: North Carolina’s share could be $750M

News

North Carolina nurse wins $216,614 Cash 5 jackpot first time playing

News

Dare County Planning Board reviews several items; hearing set for commissioners meeting

News

Dare EMS facilities slated for improvements or new construction

Hyde

Hyde County Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Center highlighted as an exemplary program

News

North Carolina’s average gas prices up after slight drop in prior week

Crime

Georgia man accused of conspiring to defraud North Carolina Medicaid

News

Golden tilefish recreational harvest closes Monday

Lifestyles

Duck Jazz Festival postponed until next year

Crime

North Carolina man arrested for sex charges, probation violation

Lifestyles

Labor Day traditions continue for 75 years in Kill Devil Hills

News

Abandoned and derelict vessel removal project begins

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to more than nine years in prison, three years supervised release for gun charge

News

FBI called in after human remains discovered in North Carolina

Crime

North Carolina mother and son charged with insurance fraud

News

Frisco Beach Access improvements underway

News

Kitty Hawk Town Council honors Willie Midgett honored for 15 years of service

Crime

North Carolina man sentenced to more than nine years in prison for firearm charge

Crime

North Carolina man charged in 2012 beating death of UNC-Chapel Hill student

News

Dare commissioners take financial action on beach nourishment, courthouse projects

News

The great horned owl: Looking out over Alligator River NWR

Lifestyles

Cape Hatteras Booster Club membership drive now open

Crime

North Carolina man arrested for splashing deputy with paint thinner

News

Tropical Storm Odette slogs offshore of mid-Atlantic coast

Business

Bayliss Boatworks delivers newest build, the 72’ Old Reliable