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As the Halifax County Health Department today added 92 new positive cases of COVID-19 to its data, Vidant Health reported the first staff member of its Roanoke Rapids hospital took the vaccine for the virus last week.

According to the health department, the 92 new positives bring the total cumulative number since March to 2,566.

“The continued increase is exactly what was projected by our scientists due to weather driving people more inside to congregate as well as gathering for the holidays,” health Director Bruce Robistow said. 

Of the Three W’s — waiting 6-feet apart, handwashing, and wearing a facial covering — “It’s the only recourse until the vaccine is able to get us to a herd immunity,” he said. 

There have been 44 related deaths: 24 within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code; six within the Scotland Neck area ZIP code; five within the Enfield area ZIP code; three within the Weldon area ZIP code; two within the Halifax area ZIP code; two within the Littleton area ZIP code; one within the Hobgood area ZIP code; and one within the Hollister area ZIP code. 


Tharrington was the first Vidant North employee to receive the Pfzier vaccine.

Meanwhile, Vidant Health reported today that Walter “Ronnie” Tharrington was the first Vidant North Hospital member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

Tharrington has worked as a team member in Central Transport for the past 10 years in Vidant North’s Emergency Department.

“I am excited to be receiving the vaccine,” Tharrington said. “I work with some of the sickest in the community, including patients with COVID-19. I am relieved to finally have some hope of having a defense to this virus.”

Vidant said like all frontline workers at Vidant North, Tharrington has been instrumental in providing care during the pandemic. 

In Ronnie’s free time, he enjoys gardening and sharing the many vegetables that he harvests. He is especially famous at the hospital for his peppers such as Carolina Reapers, Ghost Peppers and jalapenos. 

In addition to Tharrington, Vidant North administered the vaccine to 14 other team members in the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday and will continue to vaccinate interested team members in the coming weeks. 

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine provides hope of the return to normalcy in our community and health care system,” Vidant said in the statement.

Robistow said the health department has not yet received its supply of Moderna vaccine. “We have received the supplies today — masks and gowns and all the items needed to give the vaccine.”

DrugCo volunteered to get a freezer from North Carolina Central University which is capable of storing 56,000 vials of the vaccine. The university is donating the freezer to the health department, which should be arriving today. “DrugCo has been an incredible partner throughout the pandemic,” Robistow said. “Whenever we have a meeting (CEO) Drew Huggins is always there to step up and help our community in any way. Drew just jumped right out there and made the arrangements. They’re at Central right now using their truck and warehouse staff so we don’t have to wait.”

Northampton County 

The health department reported Friday there were 997 total positive cases of which 856 have recovered. There are 89 current cases. There have been 52 related deaths.