WNC COVID-19 Regional Report - April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020
Our regional response partners are committed to providing WNC’s medical community with timely information on COVID-19 through weekly updates on regional trends, needs, resources, and training opportunities. Our goal is to foster collaboration and minimize duplication of effort to enhance our region’s COVID-19 response efforts.
COVID-19 Spread in WNC
As of the morning of April 17, cases in WNC had risen to 349 with the highest number of confirmed cases reported in Henderson, Burke, and Rutherford counties.
Please visit wncready.org to see current data. Chart courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust.
Key Observations this Week

The WNC Primary Care COVID Impact and Assessment Survey continues to show that a significant number of our region’s healthcare practices, health departments, and hospitals are stressed, many with reduced hours and services. Some have closed altogether.

New trends emerging from the data show that rural and safety net practices are especially vulnerable.

  • Rural healthcare providers are in greater need of PPE, specifically N95 and surgical masks, face shields, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer
  • No WNC healthcare practice is reporting PPE supplies sufficient to last four weeks
  • 41% of practices need assistance with childcare, referrals to social services, or supporting patients with substance use disorders
  • 68% are using telehealth, but these services are underutilized in rural areas and with older patients 
Regional COVID-19 Testing Initiative

Testing is imperative to

  • understand the spread of COVID-19,
  • flatten the curve of new cases,
  • protect our communities, and
  • safely resume daily living and economic activities.

State officials are working to expand public health testing across North Carolina, and MAHEC and Dogwood Health Trust are collaborating to secure point-of-care tests for our region. Needs assessments are being conducted to support a new testing strategy for deployment through local health departments and regional partners in the coming weeks. We will share additional details as they become available. 

Regional Behavioral Health Resources 

Behavioral health services are available to support healthcare providers and individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders and intellectual/developmental disabilities.

The Hope4NC Helpline (855-587-3463) launched by NC DHHS in partnership with Vaya Health in WNC connects North Carolinians to a live person trained in supportive listening, crisis de-escalation, and linkage to area behavioral health resources and follow-up support, as needed. Available 24/7.

The Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) connects healthcare professionals, first responders, and their families with licensed mental health professionals for mental health and resilience support. 

Vaya Health provides several alternatives to hospitalization for non-life-threatening situations:

  • Vaya Access to Care Line (800-849-6127): Free 24/7 resource staffed by trained professionals for people in crisis or seeking information about mental health, substance use, and I/DD services.
  • Walk-in Crisis Centers: These regional comprehensive care centers offer same-day assessments, medication management, and individual and group therapy. Visit Vaya’s website and click on “Provider Network Updates” for updated hours of operation.
  • Mobile crisis services: Mobile crisis teams can deliver behavioral healthcare to individuals in need of help. Anyone can call the Access to Care Line at 800-849-6127 to access this resource.
  • Facility-based Crisis Centers: Community-based FBCs provide 24/7 medical detox and crisis stabilization services. Visit Vaya’s website or call 800-849-6127 to learn more.
COVID-19 Practice Support Tip Sheets

*For practices that participate in an ACO, such as Mission Health Partners, Aledade, or Carolina Medical Home Network, we recommend you contact your ACO provider representative for the most accurate information about payor-specific telehealth services based on the contracts negotiated on your behalf by the ACO.

For more practice support resources, please see MAHEC’s COVID-19 Regional Response Guidance.

For a brief overview of tests currently available and links to testing resources, please click here.

Community Resources to Help You Serve Your Patients

Please fill out this survey to help NC DHHS identify available medical staffing resources to support the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in North Carolina.

In addition to the PPE, food, legal, childcare, and other community resources shared in last week’s report, the following resources are available:

  • COVID-19 Triage Plus (877-490-6642) run by Community Care of North Carolina is a toll-free patient information and support line available from 7 am - 11 pm seven days a week.
  • Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness is providing free online recovery meetings and peer support resources.
  • Care for Corona is a grassroots professional collective offering short-term free virtual counseling and healing sessions for Buncombe County medical personnel and psychotherapists.
  • Coronavirus Online Therapy is providing free and low-fee online therapy sessions for those working on the front lines of Covid-19 across the U.S.
  • Respecting Choices has a number of free resources to help providers have conversations with patients about treatment preferences and advance care planning.
  • Affordable Healthcare: Pisgah Legal Services can help individuals who have lost their job and health insurance in the last 60 days enroll in an ACA health plan. Call 828-210-3404.
  • Free Internet. Comcast and Spectrum are offering free internet (and free WiFi Hotspots) for 60 days to new customers to facilitate access to virtual education and healthcare services.
  • Immigrant Access to Health Care & Benefits in Time of Emergency. North Carolina Justice Center has compiled this list of resources for immigrant families in both English and Spanish.
  • Expedited Onboarding for NCCARE360 to support individuals and families with social service needs. You will be able to make and receive referrals within 2 days of completing this Rapid Response Partner Registration Form.
Regional & State COVID-19 Trainings
MAHEC Primary Care COVID-19 Collaborative
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:00 am

MAHEC Using Telehealth: Practice Support for COVID-19 Preparedness
Mondays and Fridays from 7:00 to 8:00 am

NC AHEC COVID-19 Webinars
Daily with morning, afternoon and evening sessions available

Wake AHEC COVID-19 and Healthcare Worker Wellness
April 22, 2020, 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Vaya Health - Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) - Suicide Prevention
Each session is open to 25 participants.
April 23, 2020, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
April 30, 2020, 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.
April 10 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
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