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Darts and Laurels: Evening vaccination clinics will be important

Laurel to the Rowan County Health Department for holding an evening vaccination clinic instead of a morning event last week and continuing to explore opportunities for future evening events.

A large swath of the public can now be vaccinated for COVID-19, including frontline essential workers and anyone with a high-risk health condition. People may not realize it, but that’s a majority of North Carolina residents. A report published in January by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services states 65% of North Carolinians have underlying health conditions that puts them at higher risk for a severe case of COVID-19. Those conditions range from obesity to cancer.

Particularly for frontline essential workers, it’s not always easy to take a lunch break and receive a vaccine. Someone who’s not particularly inclined to get a vaccine is less likely to do so if the times for doing so are not convenient. Yes, there are other options for getting vaccinated, but the largest portion of people vaccinated in the county have done so through the Rowan Health Department.

It might also be beneficial for the county to consider moving the opening of its appointment times to the evening instead of Monday morning. Frontline essential workers employed in manufacturing, for the Postal Service or in a restaurant may not be able to set aside time at 10 a.m. on Mondays to log onto a computer or visit the appointment portal on their smartphone.

Dart to the discord that’s made it difficult for county staff to receive necessary patient data from Atrium Health.

The problem here does not appear to be the result of a major disagreement, but it’s important the matter is solved for the benefit of patients. County staff say they’re able to glean lessons about how to improve care outcomes with data from patients transferred to the care of Atrium Health facilities. The county also stopped transporting COVID-19-positive patients to Atrium Health Cabarrus and other facilities because of problems with contact tracing.

Laurel to decisions by Kannapolis and Rowan-Salisbury Schools to transition in-person students to four days per week.

While COVID-19 cases seem to have stalled after declining from their holiday peak, it’s become clear schools that take proper precautions are not major drivers of COVID-19 cases. Instead, they usually reflect what’s happening in the community. By bringing students back more days per week, the Rowan-Salisbury and Kannapolis school systems can help those who have struggled with learning at home closer to mastering this year’s lessons. Both systems can accomplish this safely with proper advance planning.

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