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Gov. Cooper warns of vaccine 'scams,' cautions against holiday gatherings and travel

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper spoke Tuesday, joined by Covid-19 task members and faith leaders. Cooper warned of potential scams related to vaccines and continued to caution against holiday travel. He also urged families to gather, and worship, remotely.

Governor Cooper says that while some Covid-19 numbers, including the 7-day rolling average of new cases and the percentage of positive tests, have plateaued over the last two weeks --- they remain too high. (You can find North Carolina's Covid-19 data dashboard here).

Ninety-two of North Carolina’s 100 counties are currently seeing critical or substantial community spread, designated as red and orange on the state’s county alert system. New Hanover County is now an ‘orange’ county; it had previously been at the lowest (but still serious) ‘yellow’ level since the alert system was launched.



North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen showing that 92 of the state's 100 counties are now 'orange' or 'red.'


Cooper and his staff note that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are cause for optimism. Cooper emphasizes that the vaccine rollout will not involve phone calls or emails asking residents for financial or personal information.


“Don’t fall for crooks calling or emailing and offering you a place on a vaccine waiting list --- there is no such thing. They’re either trying to steal your money, your identity, or both.”


Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also reminds residents that, while 24,000 vaccine doses have been delivered to frontline healthcare workers, the general public will have to be patient. (You can track the state's vaccine roll-out data on a new DHHS dashboard here).


“Supplies of the vaccine are very limited for now. It will take many, many months to vaccinate everyone who wants it.”


Under North Carolina’s vaccine roll-out plan, each county will move through four phases as more vaccines become available. The plan prioritizes frontline healthcare workers, followed by the most-at risk adults (including minorities), students (if vaccines are approved for those under 16) and critical industry workers, and then the general public. (You can find details from DHHS here and from this report in Port City Daily).


Governor Cooper asks residents to avoid travel during the holidays, a sentiment echoed by faith leaders Pastor Joseph Casteel from First United Methodist Church in Roanoke Rapids and Reverend James White from Christ Our King Community in Raleigh. Casteel and White ask congregation members to consider worshipping remotely.


There is one person not affected by Cooper’s restriction --- Santa. Cooper confirms Saint Nick will be exempt from curfew on Christmas Eve, although he has been asked to wear a mask.


You can watch the complete press conference below: