SNOW HILL — Greene County is distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as supplies permit and is closely monitoring cases in the area, according to a local health official.

Since March of last year, Greene County has had 2,070 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,943 individuals recovering, according to Joy Brock, director of Greene County Department of Public Health.

Brock shared the statistics on Monday during the Greene County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The county has 83 active cases and the health department is monitoring 73 individuals. Two are housed in a congregate setting and eight others are hospitalized, Brock said.

Greene County has recorded 44 COVID deaths, she said. It maintains a positivity rating of 7.6 percent

Testing for the virus is ongoing at the Elaney Wood Heritage Farmers Market, 470 N.C. 13, Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The department’s effort to provide vaccines also is ongoing, Brock said.

The Greene County Department of Public Health has received 2,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. It distributed 300 shots to Greene County Health Care in January and, as of last week, secured 300 second-dose shots for them.

As of Friday, the health department had administered 2,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine with 450 people receiving both doses.

“I’m proud to say our health department has not wasted any doses of vaccine,” Brock said.

Each Thursday, the department is notified of the amount of doses it will receive, she said. Recent shipments have contained only 100 doses.

“The vaccine is limited,” Brock said.

The department is still working through its wait list which contains 1,200 individuals in Group 1 and 2, with more being added each day.

Officials also are working with Greene County Schools and child care workers since they were recently approved to receive the vaccine beginning on Feb. 24.

“We will not be ready to move forward on Feb. 24 because of the people on our waitlist,” Brock said, adding vaccinating this group will require the state to send more does of the vaccine.

Brock has reached out to Greene County Schools to determine the number of staff interested in receiving the shot. Of the 425 employed, 325 are interested in being vaccinated, she said.

The department has suspended first-dose injections until it can ensure everyone who has received their first dose can get their second shot.

“When we see how many we will receive the next couple of weeks moving forward, we can proceed with first doses again,” Brock said.

Discussions have been held with Vidant Medical Center about holding a mass vaccination clinic in Greene County, but no final plans have been made, Brock said.

In other board action, the commissioners:

  • Replaced the Business Incentive Program. The program formalizes guidelines and establishes the parameters for local government economic incentives to encourage both existing and news businesses.

“The goal in changing to the proposed Incentive Grant Program is to be consistent with Lenoir and Wayne counties as Greene is now part of the GTP Economic Development Region. We will have the same incentive plans in all three counties,” said Harold Thomas, economic development director.

As part of the GTP or Global TransPark, Greene County is working in conjunction with Wayne and Lenoir to attract new industries to the area, Harold said.

“We are part of a region. We should be the same. Our region may be competing with other regions but we shouldn’t be competing against each other,” said Chairman Bennie Heath.

Harold added, “We’re trying to take the county barriers down and become one economic development region, so we can promote growth in this area. The work we have going on at the TransPark, I believe and other developers believe, Greene County is going to be a part of that.”

Commissioner Derek Burress was concerned about the change in policy and felt portions of the county’s current program were stronger mathematically when discussing investments of $2.5 million or more.

“We do those on a case-by-case bases. What we look at is tax revenue based on personal and real property that spreads over 15 years. We can’t give out more tax incentives than we receive in tax revenue,” Thomas said.

These investment cases would also be presented to the commissioners he said.

The new policy will also lower the business’ minimum investment from $500,000 to $100,000 and will allow businesses to seek other grant opportunities. The old policy prohibited addition funding.

The motion to replace the county’s current policy with the new policy passed unanimously, with Burress requesting Thomas revisit the policy to make it stronger.

  • Discussed the board appointment policy. Burress made a motion for department heads and boards to review the policy and make suggestions. It passed unanimously.

Contact Donna Marie Williams at dwilliams@ncweeklies.com.