Governor Visits Johnston County Health Department

Gov. Roy Cooper

SMITHFIELD – Governor Roy Cooper toured the Johnston County Health Department on Friday to see, first-hand, the great work the Health Department staff is doing to keep all of Johnston County healthy and safe. Governor Cooper, guided around the facility by Health Department Director, Dr. Marilyn Pearson, saw several residents getting their COVID-19 vaccinations and also visited the emergency operation center located inside the Health Department.

“The vision of the Johnston County Public Health Department is ‘Healthy Johnstonians in all Communities.’ Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked to provide the opportunity for our residents to be healthy – from case investigation, contact tracing, testing, and now vaccination. It is our goal to remove any barriers to vaccination by offering all available vaccines daily here at our health department and providing outreach clinics in our community,” said Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Health Director of the Johnston County Health Department. “I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can get back to doing the things we all love and enjoy.”

“With the highly contagious Delta variant of this virus spreading mostly through unvaccinated people, it’s critical that we continue to get more people vaccinated,” Governor Cooper said. “Getting a shot is safe and easy. It protects you, your family and others who come in contact with you. And now, you could win a million bucks on top of all that.”

Johnston County Health Department Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson speaks to reporters.

The Governor, along with local elected officials, health staff, Johnston County Board of Commissioners Chairman Chad Stewart, Commissioner Patrick Harris, Representative Donna White and Smithfield Mayor Andy Moore addressed the media following the tour. Commissioner Ted Godwin and Councilman Marlon Lee were also in attendance.

“You can tell a great health leader who recognizes her team, the people that are doing the job on the ground every single day. I’m grateful to each and every one of you and, Dr. Pearson, I’m grateful for your leadership,” said Governor Cooper.

He was joined by Chief Deputy Secretary for Health of the North Carolina Health and Human Services Kody Kinsley. 

NC House Rep. Donna White of Clayton.

The Governor touted the outreach efforts by the Johnston County Health Department, which does critical work getting the vaccine to historically marginalized populations within the County.

Commissioner Harris also acknowledged how tirelessly the Health Department and the rest of the County has worked to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thank you for the opportunity to allow us to showcase the health professionals that have worked so diligently in the last year and four months to battle something we were all very concerned about.. I’m so proud of Dr. Pearson, Director Hubbard, our Sheriff’s Department, our law enforcement agencies, the list goes on and on.”

Smithfield Mayor Andy Moore.

Johnston County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate for fully vaccinated residents remains at 35 percent, but Dr. Pearson is optimistic the County will continue to see those numbers climb. For more information on the Johnston County Health Department or to learn how to receive a COVID-19 vaccine visit: or call 919-989-5200.