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County improves from hot zone to 'significant'

Henderson County improved from the red zone to yellow in the latest county alert system released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The latest updates show Henderson County with a total of 7,996 cases and 127 deaths. While the county's case total per 100,000 ranks about 80th among 100 North Carolina counties, its deaths per 100,000 ranked seventh highest, according to statistics published by the New York Times. Henderson County public health officials have attributed the county's death rate to the high number of nursing home patients exposed to the virus, especially early on. The DHHS uses case rates, the percent of tests that come back positive and hospital impacts to measure the Covid-19 severity in each county.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services last week released new tools to help North Carolinians get their Covid-19 vaccine questions answered and to find vaccine locations in the state.

“We want North Carolinians to be able to get answers to their questions – whether that is about the vaccines and how they work, when they are eligible to take their shot, or where their spot is to get a vaccine. They can call our hotline or go to and get honest information,” DHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen said.

The newly expanded Covid-19 vaccine help center can be reached at 888-675-4567 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Callers can get help with general COVID-19 vaccine questions, information on eligibility groups, clinical questions about the vaccine, how to find vaccine locations and transportation services.

The Covid-19 vaccine help center supports English and Spanish calls, and TTY. Callers will be able to select call back assistance where they receive a call when agents are available instead of waiting in line for an agent. The language line will be available for all other languages needed.

The Find a Vaccine Location search tool lets North Carolinians enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers. The Find a Vaccine Location tool will be updated regularly with the latest available data. Users should contact vaccine providers directly to confirm availability and schedule appointments. Vaccine supplies remain very low, and people eligible to be vaccinated may have to wait for an appointment. North Carolina is currently vaccinating health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people 65 and older (Groups 1 and 2). Not all vaccine providers may be ready to vaccinate all eligible groups yet.

Last week, NCDHHS launched an online tool to help North Carolinians know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine. Find My Vaccine Group walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they are in. People can then sign up to be notified when their group can get vaccinated.

Until the country begins to get ahead of the pandemic, the CDC says everyone should keep wearing a mask, waiting at least six feet apart and washing hands often. Learn more at (English) or (Spanish).