As cases recede, health experts urge caution

Vaccination numbers have nearly doubled in the four-county area of Haywood, Jackson, Swain and Macon counties over past month and case numbers are way down, but with Easter weekend and spring break trips on the horizon, public health officials are urging the public to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Jackson opens vaccine registration to all groups, WCU to follow

Anyone 18 or older can now schedule a vaccine appointment with the Jackson County Department of Public Health, regardless of group. The clinic at Western Carolina University will open appointments to all groups starting Thursday, April 1. 

‘My place in life’: Nursing student finds peace in COVID-19 response

For Malcom Skinner, the pandemic was not a pause, but rather a call to action. 

“I’ve been trained up to this moment,” he said. 

Vaccine availability increases

Macon County became the first county in The Smoky Mountain News’ four-county coverage area to break the 20 percent mark on first doses, with the 7,759 people receiving first doses there as of March 8 equivalent to 21.64 percent of the county’s estimated population. 

COVID cases plunge as vaccine availability increases

Coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are falling sharply around the region as vaccine coverage improves, providing a longed-for surge of optimism on the way out of a deadly and depressing winter season. 

Winter storms slow down vaccine progress

Widespread winter storms last week drastically slowed down vaccination efforts in Jackson County, which still has the lowest percentage of its population vaccinated of the four counties in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area. 

Jackson to pause vaccine registration Feb. 26

Jackson County will close its phone-based vaccine appointment registration system on Friday, Feb. 26, as the county prepares to offer the vaccine to additional groups.

Vaccine shipment delays push back WCU clinic start date

Western Carolina University is one of four University of North Carolina System campuses that has opened or will soon open a community clinic for COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccination coverage improves in WNC

Vaccination coverage is picking up in Western North Carolina, with the percentage of the population receiving at least one dose now in the double digits for every far western county. 

Jackson gets influx of vaccine doses

Jackson County is still lagging behind surrounding counties when it comes to the percentage of its population that’s received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but it will have the chance to catch up after the health department received an allotment of 1,200 first doses this week — quadruple the number provided last week. 

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