local health care workers elderly first COVID vaccine

Health care providers and elderly first in line to receive coronavirus vaccine 

High priority segments of the population like health care workers and the elderly in nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the expected approved coronavirus vaccine, according to Health Director Robert Wittmann’s comments to the Moore County Board of Commissioners in their regular meeting on Tuesday. The vaccine is now being delivered by private air transports like FedEx and UPS to local hospitals and pharmacies around the country, in an unprecedented cooperation between the federal government and private companies. 

Several drug manufacturers have been given approval to distribute vaccines in less than a year, a process that Wittmann says normally would have taken years. Companies like Pfizer and Modernas willingness to manufacture large quantities of the vaccine before approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is credited for the record speed from development to distribution.

On Tuesday, the CDC was expected to decide the next segment of the population who will get the coronavirus vaccine. According to Wittmann, the vaccine will be widely available to the public in April or May of 2021.

COVID-19 case numbers in Moore County are on the rise, said Moore County Health Department Public Information Officer Matt Garner. Each day, 27 Moore County residents test positive for the virus. Currently, eight people are hospitalized at Moore Regional Hospital and 66 residents have died of the disease.

Airport Lease Agreement

Commissioners approved a request to allow a private company to lease hangar space at the Moore County Regional Airport. Airport Director Scott Malta said he has to turn away requests of private jet owners and the military to store planes in the county-owned hangers. The airport does have a limited number of spaces, but it is not enough to accommodate the demand. Under the modified lease agreement, Tango Sierra, a private company with extra hanger space at the airport, will be allowed to provide that storage capacity and office space. The agreement calls for the county to receive 20% of any revenue collected by Tango Sierra for the extra services.

Temperature Kiosks and Masks

The county has donated nine temperature checking stations and 75,000 reusable cloth masks to Moore County Public Schools. Chief Officer for Academics and Student Support Services Tim Locklair said that the temperature kiosks will be used at schools that do not currently have any. He also told the Board of Commissioners that the donation of masks will be enough for every student to have five masks at the beginning of the second semester in January.

Commissioners also approved a donation of a temperature kiosk to the Moore Free and Charitable Clinic. The clinic is a private, non-profit organization that provides primary care services at low or no cost to eligible adult residents of Moore County.

The kiosks and masks will be funded entirely by grant money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.

Landfill Expansion

A contract to expand the Moore County Landfill was awarded to Anson Contractors of Polkton, North Carolina for $674,243. The project, known as Cell 6, adds another 5.6 acres to the site off North Carolina Highway 5. It will accept only construction and demolition materials, according to Solid Waste Director David Lambert.

File photo: Matt Garner, public information officer for the Moore County Health Department, makes a presentation to the Moore County Commissioners in October as Commissioner Louis Gregory looks on.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.

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