North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen will be stepping down after five years of services, according to a news release. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Kody Kinsley, the current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health to take her place, beginning Jan. 1.

East Carolina University News Services

Researchers at East Carolina University in Greenville found a new way to detect the COVID-19 causing coronavirus: by testing the air in buildings’ ventilation systems. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.

Pitt County NC YouTube

The Pitt County board of commissioners is seeking public input on how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds. PRE’s Meredith Radford reports that the first input sessions will take place Wednesday. 




Duplin County Health Department Facebook

Duplin County’s health department is offering a cash card to anyone receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more. 



UNC Lenoir Health Care Facebook

UNC Lenoir Health Care announced Friday a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for all employees, affiliated providers, students, volunteers, and vendors.


North Carolina is preparing to rollout doses of the first COVID-19 vaccine for younger children — if it gets approved.  PRE’s Meredith Radford reports on this and other updates state officials gave today during a media briefing. 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots. PRE’s Meredith Radford talks with East Carolina University’s professor of immunology and microbiology in the Brody School of Medicine Dr. Rachel Roper about who's eligible, the guidance on mixing vaccines and when vaccinations may be approved for children.


The Town of Beaufort’s board of commissioners voted unanimously to repeal their indoor mask mandate within town limits, effective immediately, at their meeting Monday. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.


Researchers at East Carolina University in Greenville are enrolling people in a clinical trial for an experimental pill that was shown in another study to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in people who had COVID-19. PRE’s Meredith Radford reports that the purpose of this study is to find out if the pill can prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in those who have not yet been infected.

NC Department of Health and Human Services

 The State Department of Health and Human Services and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina are providing food assistance to people affected by COVID-19. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.


Fourteen Onslow County residents have died from COVID-19 since last Monday, according to a news release. As of Monday, Onslow County had over 3,000 open cases of COVID-19, which dropped more than 600 from last week, according to the release.


The Onslow County Health Department reports that 18 residents have died from COVID-19 in the past week.  Eleven of those deaths were reported since Monday. According to a news release, seven of the individuals who died were under 65 years old and four were over 65 years old.  Since Monday, the County has averaged 259 cases per day. Onslow Health Director Kristen Richmond Hoover said in the release that Onslow has at least 14 open outbreaks and clusters of cases, including eight schools and two day-care facilities.

Onslow County Schools Have COVID-19 Clusters In 8 Schools

Sep 15, 2021
Onslow County Schools

The Onslow County Health Department has told Onslow County Schools and that clusters of COVID-19 cases have been identified at eight district schools, according to a news release.


The Carteret County Health Department reported four additional COVID-19-related deaths in the county in a news release Thursday. Three of the residents were in their 70s and one was in their 40s. All of the deaths had underlying health conditions.

The Pitt County Health Department will be offering Moderna COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics throughout the month of September for people 18 years or older who need either a first or second dose of the vaccine, according to a news release.


Onslow County Schools will begin requiring face coverings for all staff, students older than five and visitors indoors Thursday, with full implementation by Sept. 13, according to a news release.

Onslow County Health Department Facebook

More than 100,000 people have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Onslow County and there have been over 25,000 cases in the county since the pandemic began, according to a news release.

Vidant Health, based in Greenville, has announced they are scheduling appointments online for immunocompromised individuals to receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release. The release said this third dose may prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 in immunocompromised people who may not have responded to their initial vaccine doses.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order on Thursday to expand access to Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19, according to a news release. The order authorizes and directs State Health Director, Dr. Betsey Tilson to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to the COVID-19 treatment. Monoclonal Antibody Treatments are given to patients directly with an IV infusion or a shot, and if taken early can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, according to the release. The order will be in effect through Nov.

Vidant Health

In a press briefing Monday, Vidant Health President Brian Floyd said the pandemic is taking a toll on their team, because they know that the COVID-19 deaths and disabilities they’re seeing are largely preventable. Vidant Health is seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients. The largest COVID-19 inpatient group at Vidant is now 25- to 49-year-olds, but pediatrician Dr. Matthew Ledoux said they are also regularly seeing children admitted to the intensive care unit.

After the CDC recommended third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with compromised immune systems earlier this month, Pitt County joins several other counties in Eastern North Carolina in offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to these individuals. P-R-E’s Meredith Radford has more. 

Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order to allow some law enforcement training classes to continue during the pandemic, according to a

Craven County’s Graham A. Barden Elementary School has closed due to the number of staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the high number of students in quarantine, according to a press release.  The school will be closed for face-to-face instruction until September 7, 2021 and will shift to remote learning in the meantime. Instruction is expected on Zoom no later than Friday. The school  made independent learning materials available for students until then.



Vidant Health


  Vidant Health has reported a positive COVID-19 test rate of over 20% for the last seven days. P-R-E’s Meredith Radford reports that Vidant Health’s intention for their vaccine requirement for staff is to make sure they maintain enough workers to meet their community’s demands.

  Of the 16 counties that Public Radio East covers in Eastern North Carolina, only three have public school districts that have kept masking optional for students and staff. In the past few weeks, school boards all over the state have had to decide whether to mandate mask wearing indoors or make it optional.

Onslow Memorial Hospital

Onslow County has had six deaths and over 1,400 new COVID-19 cases since last Thursday. Onslow Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 cases have increased significantly in the last two weeks. As the only community hospital in the county, Onslow Memorial struggles to meet demands as they continue to run near their capacity. Meredith Radford has more. 


The positive COVID-19 test rate continues to rise in Carteret County. PRE's Meredith Radford reports that the number of hospitalizations also continues to increase due to the Delta variant. 

Wikimedia Commons

As the start of the fall semester approaches for Eastern North Carolina public schools, the districts have had to make tough decisions on whether to mandate mask wearing. In light of the recent increases in COVID-19 cases, some schools decided to require them indoors while others are taking the optional approach.


The positive COVID-19 test rate for Carteret County has increased in the last few weeks. This increase echoes the statewide influx of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of July-- linked to the highly contagious Delta variant. 

Young people would need parental permission now before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina in legislation approved unanimously by the state Senate. The bill voted on Tuesday contains a parent or guardian requirement for vaccines approved by federal regulators for emergency use, such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.