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News & Press: Updates for Members

NC DHHS COVID-19 Updates: June 22

Monday, June 22, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Latest NC COVID-19 response updates from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS):

  • NCDHHS Awarded $1.5 Million to Expand Mental Health Support Through Statewide Crisis Counseling Programing
  • NCDHHS Allocates $35 Million to Local Health Departments for COVID-19 Response
  • Prisons Begin COVID-19 Testing of All Offenders
  • New Schools Guidance: StrongSchoolsNC Infection Control and PPE Guidance (K-12)
  • Additional Dates Added to Pop-Up Testing Sites
  • New Videos Released for Outreach to Farm Workers and Meat Packing Plant Employees
  • Updated Reports on Risk Factors for Severe Illnesses and Ongoing Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings
  • Updated CLI Surveillance Report

 

NCDHHS Awarded $1.5M to Expand Mental Health Support Through Crisis Counseling Programing

NCDHHS has been awarded $1.5 million to support and expand the Hope4NC program, which connects North Carolinians to mental health supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis. North Carolinians who call the Hope4NC Helpline talk with trained counselors who provide emotional support and share resources on building coping skills during times of crisis. Additional resources and information on staying physically and mentally healthy can be found on the Managing Overall Health and Wellness Resources webpages.

 

NCDHHS Allocates $35M to Local Health Departments for COVID-19 Response

NCDHHS is allocating $35 million in federal funding to local health departments to support the COVID-19 response. Per federal guidelines, counties will be able to use these funds to support COVID-19 staffing, infection controls, testing and tracing, IT infrastructure and data sharing and visualization. “Since the start of the pandemic our local health departments have been working around the clock to protect their communities and slow the spread of the virus. These funds continue to support their ability to address the overwhelming demands they are facing,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. View the press release here.

 

Local health departments will receive a base allocation of $90,000 per county with additional funding based on population size and their cumulative positive COVID-19 caseload. Some local health departments represent multiple counties. You can find out how much each health department will receive here.

 

Prisons Begin COVID-19 Testing of All Offenders

State prison officials have initiated a plan to test all 31,000 offenders for COVID-19. This testing of the population is estimated to require at least 60 days to complete, at a projected cost of more than $3.3 million. “Our top priority is everyone’s health and safety, and I mean everyone,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said. “I strongly urge our staff to continue taking advantage of the COVID-19 tests being offered through our State Health Plan/FastMed/LabCorp partners.”  Read the full press release here.

 

COVID-19 tests are already being conducted on all new offenders when they arrive at the prison from the county jails, and population-wide testing is currently underway at Albemarle Correctional Institution in New London.  The more than four dozen actions taken by the Department of Prisons to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in prisons, as well as the current data for testing efforts, can be found here.

 

New Schools Guidance: StrongSchoolsNC Infection Control and PPE Guidance (K-12)

NCDHHS has updated its guidance for schools infection control efforts and use of PPE in K-12 settings. This guidance was developed collaboratively between NCDHHS and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). This Infection Control and PPE guidance should be used in combination with the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12), first released on June 8, 2020, which outlines health requirements and recommendations for reopening schools.

 

In addition, a new FAQ page for StrongSchoolsNC has been added in both English and Spanish.

 

Additional Dates Added to Pop-Up Testing Sites

As organizations partner with communities to increase testing across the state, NCDHHS wants to make sure North Carolinians know about the COVID-19 pop-up community testing events.  New dates have been added to this resource, which can be found here.

 

New Videos Released for Outreach to Farm Workers and Meat Packing Plant Employees

Farms and meat and poultry processing plants throughout North Carolina appear to be high-risk settings for transmission of COVID-19 due to the nature of the work, challenge for employees to practice social distancing and the continuous nature of the plant operations. These toolkit materials – which now contain videos in various languages – can be shared and many of them are available to print and distribute to workers of farms and meat and poultry processing plants.

 

Updated Reports on Risk Factors for Severe Illnesses and Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings

The NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard now contains updated reports on Risk Factors for Severe Illnesses and Ongoing Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings.

 

Updated CLI Surveillance Report

NCDHHS continues to use all available tools to monitor the spread of COVID-19 across the state.  These surveillance systems include information related to outpatient visits, emergency department visits, laboratory data, as well as hospital data from epidemiologists at seven of the state’s largest healthcare systems. Find the updated report on surveillance efforts here.


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