HLT News

Warning signs of heat illness

The record temperatures we are experiencing can be dangerous to the health of all ages, as well as pets. The Pender County Health Department shared this warning regarding heat illness.

 

NC Gov. Cooper lifts many COVID-19 restrictions

State to lift gathering limits, social distancing requirements in all settings and indoor mask mandate for most settings

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. shared an update on the state’s COVID-19 progress. Throughout the pandemic, state officials have taken a data-driven approach and have been guided by the science in making decisions. Following yesterday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others, the state will remove its indoor mask mandate for most settings. Additionally, the state will lift all mass gathering limits and social distancing requirements. These changes are now in effect as of 1:30 PM today.

“We can take this step today because the science shows our focus on getting people vaccinated is working,” said Governor Cooper. “But to keep moving forward – and to make sure that we keep saving lives – more people need to get vaccinated.”

The ability to lift restrictions sooner than anticipated following the CDC’s guidance shows the importance of vaccinating all North Carolinians. As of this week, even more people can get vaccinated. Younger teens between 12 and 15 can now get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Young people are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, just like everyone else, and the percent of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina children 17 and under has been increasing.

North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7.7 million doses. 51% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 46% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.

“I am so proud of the incredible progress we have made in beating back this pandemic,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Vaccines continue to be incredibly effective at protecting individuals from this terrible virus. And as more and more people get vaccinated, the results show in our stable metrics with lower cases, lower hospitalizations, and lower deaths.”

In accordance with the new CDC guidance, there will still be certain settings where masks and other safety measures will be required. Masks will still be required in child care, schools and camps as most children are either not yet vaccinated or are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Everyone, including people who are fully vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask in certain settings such as public transportation, health care settings like hospitals, doctor’s offices and long-term care settings like nursing homes, and certain congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

NCDHHS will continue to have strong public health recommendations for individuals to continue to protect one another until more people are vaccinated. People who are not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor public settings and in outdoor settings when they can’t maintain six feet of distance.

Masks are strongly recommended for everyone at large crowded indoor events like sporting events and live performances.

NCDHHS recommends public-facing businesses post signage reminding guests to social distance and wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated; remind employees to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19; have a plan to immediately isolate and remove sick workers, and clean high-touch surfaces once a day. Businesses may choose to continue to require that their customers wear masks.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also continue to expand strategies to reach people who have not yet gotten vaccinated.

Information on the state’s vaccine distribution is available at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). People can find nearby vaccine providers using NCDHHS’ online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline number is 888-675-4567.

Read the Executive Order.

Read a FAQ about today’s Order.

NC Attorney General Josh Stein and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners unveil historic agreement in the fight against the opioid epidemic

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:

  • 15 percent to the state, which the General Assembly would appropriate to address the epidemic.
  • 80 percent to local governments, including all 100 counties and 17 municipalities.
  • An additional five percent to an incentive fund to encourage counties and large- and medium-size municipalities to sign on to the agreement.

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.

Gov. Cooper issues Executive Order to relax the state’s outdoor mask mandate and ease mass gathering limits

State continues to strive to get two thirds of adults at least partially vaccinated

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress. As the state’s metrics and key indicators remain stable, Governor Cooper also signed an Executive Order outlining safety measures for the month of May. Executive Order No. 209 will take effect April 30 and is set to expire June 1. As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1.

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”

Under the new Executive Order, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NC DHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult.

Executive Order No. 209 will also increase mass gathering capacity limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.

“Fortunately, we now have enough vaccine for everyone. They are free and widely available across the state. In many places you don’t need appointment,” said Secretary Cohen. “For those who have questions, I encourage you to go to YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov to learn about the benefits of the vaccines, potential temporary reactions you might experience, and answers to common questions.”

North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7 million doses. 48.7% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 39.2% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.

State health officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is level.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is level.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is level.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

In addition to monitoring these metrics, the state continues to respond to virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Read Executive Order No. 209.

Read Frequently Asked Questions.

View the slides from today’s briefing.

 

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone

PENDER COUNTY – The Pender County Health Department currently has COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Appointments are available at two convenient locations – the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St., Burgaw, or the Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy. 17.

Pender County Health Department administers the Moderna vaccine which is available to everyone 18 years and older.

You may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

If registering online, the Pender County website is best viewed in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox and NOT Internet Explorer.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

 

Water quality swimming advisory issued for ocean-side Catherine Avenue access

MOREHEAD CITY – An advisory against swimming was posted today at an ocean-side site in Pender County, where state officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.

The advisory is for the public beach access #1A located across from Catherine Avenue in Topsail Beach. Test results of water samples taken on April 12 and April 13 indicate bacteria levels that exceed the state and federal action levels of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier 1 daily use sites. Swimming areas are classified based on recreational use and are referred to as tiers.

NC Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at the ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws. Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness, scientific studies show that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the action level have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Topsail Beach area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign. The sign posted reads as follows:

ATTENTION
SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES
LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN.
OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR

State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.

State recreational water quality officials sample 213 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis, from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when the waters are colder.

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit the program’s website , view a map of the testing sites, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.

Joint CDC and FDA statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

The following statement is attributed to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

CDC and FDA will provide additional information and answer questions later today at a media briefing. A recording of that media call will be available on the FDA’s YouTube channel.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone NOW for Tuesday, April 13 in Burgaw

PENDER COUNTY – COVID-19 vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for Tuesday, April 13, at the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St., Burgaw.

The Moderna vaccination appointments are available to Group 4 which includes anyone 18-64 years old.

Groups 1-4 may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

If registering online, the Pender County website is best viewed in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox and NOT Internet Explorer.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

If citizens miss this opportunity to be vaccinated, continue to monitor the county’s website, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the local news for future vaccine appointments.

North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens for all adults on April 7

Pender County is currently serving everyone ages 18 and older

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress as tomorrow also marks the opening of vaccine eligibility for Group 5. This means anyone 16 years and older who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination is eligible to get one.

“We remain focused on getting people vaccinated as quickly and as equitably as possible and continuing to slow the spread of the virus,” said Governor Cooper. “The more people we vaccinate, the more we can safely do.”
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 5.2 million doses. 39 percent of those 18 and up is at least partially vaccinated, and 26 percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.

“These tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us get back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love – like safely hugging a grandmother, traveling to see vaccinated family or friends, or having a potluck dinner with your vaccinated neighbors,” said Secretary Cohen.

State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and practice safety precautions, including the

Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is level.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is level.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

View the slides from today’s briefing.

 

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