NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Gov. Roy Cooper’s deputy press secretary reached out to New Hanover County officials this week “to discuss a potential visit” to a vaccine clinic in the area, according to emails obtained by Port City Daily.
Jenni Ciesielski, Cooper’s deputy press secretary, emailed New Hanover County Health Director David Howard yesterday, in a brief message, to convene a conference call to discuss the potential visit — which Ciesielski said would be next Thursday.
“I hope you’re doing well! I’m reaching out from Governor Cooper’s Office and would love to find some time today to discuss a potential visit to the New Hanover County vaccine clinic next Thursday,” she wrote.
In response, Howard thanked Ciesielski for reaching out. “We’re excited to host governor Cooper and others here in New Hanover!” he wrote. More individuals were added into the email chain and the call was set up to take place at 3 p.m. yesterday.
A New Hanover County spokesperson said the county will not comment on the emails. The governor’s press office did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.
Cooper announced an executive order Wednesday that lifted the outdoor mask mandate and increased outdoor and indoor capacity limits. More Covid-19 restrictions are expected to be eased by June, he said at a press conference.
Last week, Cooper and N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen toured a vaccine clinic in Buncombe County. They have been visiting clinics across the state since the vaccination rollout began in December.
The state recently doled out a new “bringing back the summer” campaign in an effort to re-energize dwindling interest in vaccines, Cooper explained Wednesday. Approximately one-third of New Hanover County has been vaccinated. Walk-in clinics have become more prevalent, compared to appointment-based vaccine operations, which used to dominate the scene in the effort’s early days when supply was low and demand was high.
It is unclear which clinic in New Hanover County Cooper intends to visit. The county standardly offers vaccinations at its new Health and Human Services building on Greenfield Street, the MLK Center on 8th Street, and more recently at Independence Mall.
New Hanover Public Health announced three walk-up clinics will take place in the coming week, including on Saturday, May 1; Monday, May 3; and Wednesday, May 5. Vaccines will be given at both the Health and Human Services building and Independence Mall.
Cooper last visited the Cape Fear region in February to survey tornado damage near Ocean Isle Beach, and months prior he toured Brunswick County beaches following Hurricane Isaias. It will be his first visit to Wilmington since before the pandemic. The governor took two visits in 2019 to see the Market North Apartments in December, after the property reopened from Hurricane Florence damage, and the New Hanover County operations center after Hurricane Dorian in September.
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