Mask mandates lifted amid plummeting COVID-19 numbers

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling toward the lowest levels seen since the pandemic took root. 

Vaccination still slow as Pfizer shot approved for teens

For the fourth straight week, the rate of vaccinations has decreased in the four-county area, with just 0.5 percent of the four-county area’s population receiving a first dose between May 3 and May 10. 

New vaccinations continue to slow

Vaccinations continue to slow down in the four-county area and in the state as a whole, but case counts are dropping too, with the 981 new cases reported statewide May 4 — marking just the fourth time since October that figure has fallen below 1,000.

Vaccine appointments readily available in WNC

Vaccination rates slowed substantially across the four-county area over the past week, and the pace will likely continue to slacken as health departments across the area report a dearth of demand.

Virus trends down as vaccination continues

Despite a continued pause on distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and flagging demand for appointments, the past week saw continued progress on local vaccination rates and a reversal of the upward trend in confirmed cases.

What is the deal with COVID vaccines? Dr. Jernigan addresses SMN readers’ concerns

The COVID-19 vaccination rollout is in full swing, and while many people rushed to get their shot at the first opportunity, others say they still have questions and will wait for a vaccine — or won’t get one at all. 

Signups slow for vaccine appointments

After months of working breakneck speed to clear an ever-expanding backlog of people waiting to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, local health departments are reporting a marked slowdown in signups, even though only about 30 percent of the population has received at least one shot. 

Jackson County pauses J&J vaccine distribution

The Jackson County Department of Public Health will pause its use of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine following a recent joint statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The COVID-19 Vaccine Drive Thru Clinic scheduled on Thursday, April 15, is cancelled as a result.

The facts on the vax: Survey shows widespread support for COVID-19 vaccination

More than 80 percent of Smoky Mountain News readers have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and less than 10 percent say they’ll refuse altogether, according to the results of an unscientific survey conducted by SMN from March 24 through March 31 of this year. 

COVID-19 vaccine means getting back to ‘normal’

People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things they had stopped doing because of the pandemic, according to the CDC. This includes gathering indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, gathering indoors with unvaccinated people of one household without wearing masks and traveling within the United States without COVID-19 testing or quarantine. 

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