WNC COVID-19 Regional Report - August 21, 2020

August 21, 2020



Friday, August 21, 2020

This week’s report highlights COVID-19 trends, school reopening updates, information on virtual inequities, and new resources and training opportunities for providers and patients.

Monitoring Trends

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Created using data from the Davidson College Crisis Dashboard, Asheville Citizen Times and individual school system, college, and university websites.

Key Observations this Week

COVID-19 trends improved over the past two weeks as increased adherence to public health guidelines led to gradual decreases in the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and testing positivity rate.

NC cases spiked again on Thursday with 1,972 reported cases and 8% of tests returning positive. The positivity rate in WNC varied with Buncombe County reporting 5% and Cherokee County reporting 12%.

Students are returning to school. Many WNC students from K-12 through college are returning to campus for modified in-person learning, often in combination with online instruction. This interactive New York Times article explores criteria for when schools can safely reopen.

Some students are returning home. Several large universities, including UNC-Chapel Hill, have had to transition to fully online classes within the first week in response to COVID-19 outbreaks on campus.

High school sports have been postponed by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Many are scheduled to resume in the spring with a few as early as November.


Mitigating COVID-19’s Impact on Children’s Wellness

Many families are not seeking preventive care during the pandemic, leading to a dramatic reduction in immunizations and well-child visits in WNC and across the nation. Some practices in our region have identified as many as 500 gaps in care for their patients.

North Carolina AHEC and Community Care of North Carolina have launched the Keeping Kids Well Initiative
to help healthcare providers identify pediatric patients in need of care and develop strategies to close these gaps. MAHEC is facilitating a monthly pediatric collaborative to help WNC practices implement telehealth and strategies for safely delivering in-office well-child care.


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These following resources can help you improve immunization rates in your practice:

For more information about how to improve engagement in well-child care, contact MAHEC.Practice.Support@mahec.net.

Virtual Learning May Widen Achievement Gaps

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While virtual learning may be the safest option in communities where there is significant viral spread (above 5%), online learning can exacerbate digital divides along socioeconomic, racial and rural lines. According to an early childhood development expert at Duke University, approximately 1 in 6 American children lack the equipment necessary to learn at home.

Distance learning can be particularly challenging for children with special needs, children living in households with multiple siblings, children with parents who work outside the home, and families who do not have reliable broadband access, as is often the case in rural communities. These inequities may be compounded by learning losses of up to 60% in math and 40% in reading due to COVID-19 related school closures in the spring.


COVID-19 Practice Support Tip Sheets

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

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NEW Resources to Help You Serve Your Patients

Provider Resources

Health Inequities and Social Support

Mental Health Resources

Patient Education & Resources

NEW & Ongoing COVID-19 Virtual Trainings & Support

ALA: Lung Health and COVID-19: Updates with CDC
Monday, August 24 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm

Southeast AHEC: Closing Patient Care Gaps Amidst the Chaos
Wednesday, August 26 from 12:00 to 12:30 pm

QuitlineNC: Supporting Patients to Become Tobacco Free During COVID-19
Wednesday, August 26 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Southern Regional AHEC: Ethical Dilemmas of COVID-19: Navigating Difficult Choices in Difficult Times
Thursday, August 27 from 9 to 10:30 am

Eastern AHEC: NCCARE360 Overview
Tuesday, September 1 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm

Charlotte AHEC: Resilience and Recovery
Wednesday, September 2 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Vaya Health: QPR Suicide Prevention
Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, additional dates available

MAHEC COVID-19 Coordinating Community Resources in WNC
Wednesdays (biweekly) from 7:00 to 8:00 am

MAHEC Acute Care of Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19
Wednesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm

NCDHHS COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition
Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 pm
Click link above and select “add to distribution list” to receive weekly meeting invitations


August 7
July 31July 24July 17July 10July 2

June 26June 19June 12June 5
May 29May 22May 15May 8May 1
April 24April 17April 10

If you would like to receive this weekly report, please email Sam.Blankenship@mahec.net to be added to our distribution list. 


Regional Response Partners

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