VACCINE pic

A sign on Nash Street on Tuesday announces that the county’s drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic is for registered participants only. Last week, the clinic was open without registering first and an influx of cars caused traffic issues.

The county’s second COVID-19 vaccination clinic Tuesday at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center went far more smoothly than the first one last week when vehicles were backed up more than a mile.

“The county reviewed and adjusted plans for (Tuesday)’s clinic,” Jamie Brown, Lee County spokeswoman, said in an email.

No pre-registration was required for last week’s clinic, leading to the backup down Main Street/Broadway Road to the U.S. 421 bypass.

The revisions including having residents preregister for vaccinations, dividing attendees into two groups with staggered arrival times, improving communication with the public and placing signs in the area to alert drivers.

A sign that read, “Registrants Only!” greeted drivers accessing Nash Street from Main Street trying to get past the civic center. The sign and several law enforcement officers worked as several drivers turned around to go back to Main Street.

Another change was that additional staff was on hand to help speed up the check-in process, Brown said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Lee County Health Department had administered an estimated 3,000 vaccines, Brown said.

Meanwhile, another COVID-19 patient was admitted to Central Carolina Hospital, increasing to 17 the number of patients hospitalized with the coronavirus here, spokeswoman Anna Manning said Tuesday.

That’s the largest number of COVID-19 patients the hospital has handled at one time since the outbreak began in March. On Monday, the hospital reported 16 patients, which Manning said at the time was the highest number to date.

Some CCH staff have volunteered to help with the health department’s vaccination clinics, she said.

“We are still focusing on getting our healthcare workers and first responders vaccinated in accordance to the prioritization guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control),” Manning said in a text message.

The Lee County Health Department announced Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration form can be found at leecountync.gov/covid19. Filling out the form does not complete the registration process, Brown said, but indicates that an individual is interested in being vaccinated and gives consent for the health department to contact the person.

Since March, 4,408 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Lee County with 46 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.