“COVID-19 is still here, still sending North Carolinians to the hospital with severe illness and still causing deaths. As flu season begins, we all need to do what we can to be as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer. “It is critically important to get your flu vaccine and your COVID-19 vaccine. Flu can be a serious and sometimes deadly disease. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting ill and keep you from needing a hospital bed.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine. Vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes, making it especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Some of those same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19.
Flu vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments. COVID-19 vaccines may now be administered at the same time as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine, for those who need both. This fall and winter – don’t wait to vaccinate for flu and COVID-19.
In North Carolina, flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring, with activity usually peaking in January or February. The following precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses like COVID-19:
COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, local health department or urgent care. They should consult with a doctor about getting tested for flu and/or COVID-19. Flu symptoms include:
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment with a prescription antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Treatment with a prescription antiviral drug is especially important for hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness and those who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health. Treatment is also available for those with COVID-19 who are at higher risk for severe infections.
The Respiratory Surveillance Report provides updates on flu and COVID-19 surveillance data. Beginning Oct. 8 and through the flu season, flu data from around the state will be included in addition to data on COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
Sixty percent of North Carolinians over 18 have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. shared updated public health guidance for K-12 schools to follow in the upcoming school year.
“The most important work our state will do next month is getting all our school children back into the classrooms safely for in-person learning,” said Governor Cooper. “That’s the best way for them to learn, and we want their school days to be as close to normal as possible, especially after a year of disruption.”
The updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics guidance, which urges that everything possible is done to keep students in schools and emphasizes continued masking. The Toolkit says schools with students in kindergarten through eighth grade should require all children and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Schools with students in 9th through 12th grades should ensure that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, including students, wear a mask indoors.
This guidance is effective July 30th and local school leaders are responsible for requiring and implementing protocols in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit in consultation with their local health departments.
The Toolkit also updates additional measures for schools related to quarantining after COVID exposure, physical distancing, testing, transportation, cleaning, and other considerations.
State health officials continue to urge unvaccinated people to follow CDC and NCDHHS guidance and wear a mask indoors. When Executive Order 220 expires at the end of July, North Carolina businesses and other entities where masks are required will make their own decisions about requiring masks, with strong guidance provided by NCDHHS. Everyone, regardless of vaccine status, should still wear a mask in certain places such as public transportation and healthcare facilities.
“Get vaccinated right now if you haven’t. We are seeing the impact of the very contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 and it’s hitting those who are unvaccinated hard,” said Secretary Cohen. “Schools need to use the additional safety protocols outlined in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit to continue to protect students and staff as we enter the new school year.”
To date, North Carolina has administered more than 9.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 56 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. Sixty percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 86 percent of people 65 and over.
Learn more about the state’s vaccine distribution at myspot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). Details on the Your Shot at $1 Million Summer Cash Drawing can be found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/summervaxcash. Use NCDHHS’ online tool Find a Vaccine Location to find a nearby vaccine site. Call the state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 888-675-4567.
Read the updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit.
RALEIGH — Attorney General Josh Stein and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners today unveiled a historic agreement to fight the opioid epidemic. The agreement governs how North Carolina would use the proceeds of any future national settlement or bankruptcy resolution with drug distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen and opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma. These potential settlements and resolutions could bring as much as $850 million to North Carolina over an 18-year period to support state and local efforts to address the epidemic.
“The opioid epidemic, in recent years, has taken the lives of more than 16,000 North Carolinians, torn families apart, and ravaged communities from the mountains to the coast,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “These companies helped to create and fuel this epidemic with irresponsible marketing and a lack of oversight – and they must be held accountable to help clean up this mess. I am working hard, along with fellow attorneys general across the country, to do just that. Should we prevail, today’s agreement between the counties and the state is an important step toward getting much-needed resources to communities across North Carolina as they work to address the epidemic and its aftermath.”
“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on all 100 counties. We all know someone personally affected by this heartbreaking crisis, and local governments remain on the front lines of this epidemic, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This historic agreement will ensure potential opioid settlement funds coming into North Carolina get to people in need quickly and effectively. I, along with our NCACC Board of Directors, urge all counties and our municipal partners to sign this groundbreaking agreement as soon as possible,” said NCACC President Ronnie Smith, Chair, Martin County Board of Commissioners. The agreement is endorsed by the NCACC Board of Directors, which adopted a resolution in support of the agreement urging all 100 counties and municipal partners to sign on to it without delay.
“The increase in opioid overdoses we saw during the COVID pandemic is a stark reminder that we need strategic, long-term investments to fight the disease of addiction,” said Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “This agreement provides needed funding for local partners to implement strategies in North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan that prevent overdoses and save lives.”
To maximize funds flowing to North Carolina communities on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, the agreement would direct settlement funds as follows:
In addition, the agreement offers a high level of transparency into how local governments will use the funds, including special revenue funds subject to audit, annual financial and impact reports, and a public dashboard showing how they are using settlement funds to address the epidemic.
The state of North Carolina, 76 counties, and eight municipalities are engaged in litigation with or investigations of opioid manufacturers and distributors. All 100 counties – along with large- and medium-size municipalities – will now have the opportunity to review and sign on to the agreement.
Click here to access a one-pager on this topic.
Click here to access an FAQ on this topic.
Click here to access the memorandum of agreement.
The Count On Me NC program is focused on providing the necessary knowledge and information needed to manage COVID-19 within businesses as restrictions are relaxed. These free courses provide a consistent approach based on state and national guidelines. The voluntary program is designed to incorporate the best available science in social and physical distancing, employee health and cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection and is presented in an easy format in both English and Spanish. Each of these short training sessions are under 30 minutes and delivered online in an engaging and interactive format. Participating businesses will be recognized on the website CountOnMeNC.org
On May 5th, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 begins on Friday, May 8 at 5:00 pm.
Highlights of Phase 1 include:
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) created several materials to help businesses navigate Phase 1, including:
DHHS also previewed a new campaign, Know Your Ws! While North Carolinians should still stay home, if they go out, they should know their Ws: Wear. Wait. Wash.
RALEIGH, N.C. – (April 6, 2020) Governor Roy Cooper issued a proclamation declaring April Alcohol Awareness Month in North Carolina. The proclamation coincides with a nationwide effort to educate Americans about the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol… all while families are staying home together.
Talk It Out NC, a state-sponsored initiative to reduce underage drinking, is taking the opportunity to encourage families in North Carolina to start the conversation about underage drinking. The program is launching several new initiatives to reduce the underage drinking problem in our state.
Right now, when families are home together, is an opportune time in the fight against underage drinking. Talk It Out ambassadors are making virtual appearances across the stateto help families tackle what can sometimes seem like a daunting discussion.
“Students are home from school right now, and many of their parents are home from work — it’s the perfect time for families to talk about the consequences of underage drinking,” says Deputy Director of Education and Outreach for the ABC Commission Jim Van Hecke. “At the same time, Talk It Out is honoring Alcohol Awareness Month by encouraging students to Take the Pledge against underage drinking through several new initiatives.”
Talk It Out is acknowledging Alcohol Awareness Month with engaging posts on all its social media platforms. These posts encourage families to talk about alcohol and keep the lines of communication open.
Talk It Out is also working with the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards to share information about an alcohol education project with the public. It is part of the Boards’ mission to ensure members of the public are well informed about the societal issues related to the consumption of alcohol.
Although attendance at schools and churches is on hold right now, Talk It Out is planning for the future. The program is in the process of organizing school-based and faith-based initiatives for future engagement opportunities. Talk It Out’s ambassadors will connect with schools and churches in their communities to talk about underage drinking.
April is also Alcohol Responsibility Month, and Talk It Out is partnering with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) to eliminate underage drinking. The Foundation released encouraging statistics that result from positive conversations between parents and their kids about alcohol:
Talk It Out encourages families to keep the lines of communication about underage drinking open with helpful tips.
View complete article here
To learn more visit: www.talkitoutnc.org