WNC COVID-19 Regional Report: Friday, May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1, 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.
Positive Tests in NC as a Percentage of Total Tests
Courtesy of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Key Observations this Week

Public health and government officials are looking at what measures need to be in place to safely reopen the economy and ease social distancing restrictions. North Carolina’s three-phase plan requires meeting trend benchmarks, increasing testing capacity, and expanding our state’s contact tracing workforce.

  • The percent of ED visits for COVID-like illnesses is decreasing; however, the number of patients being admitted to the hospital is not
  • New cases are increasing but at a slower rate; this is expected to change as more testing is conducted
  • The trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests is not declining
  • Statewide testing has not yet reached the goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day. In WNC, this would equate to 500-700 tests per day. Currently, there is wide variation in testing numbers across WNC counties
  • The state does not have a 30-day supply of PPE and is in immediate need of gowns and N95 respirators

Additional concerns include

  • The reopening of neighboring states who have not met NC benchmarks
  • A growing number of cases being reported in rural WNC counties
  • WNC residents frequently commute across county borders for essential and non-essential work
  • Vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 including communities of color, the elderly, and those who are homeless or incarcerated
COVID-19 Shines a Light on Persistent Health Inequities

National data shows that people of color are experiencing a disproportionate burden of serious illness and death associated with COVID-19. In North Carolina, African Americans make up 22 percent of the population; however, they currently account for 35 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. Additional race and ethnicity impact data is available here.

To address these health inequities, the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) has launched a Community-Activated Response Equitably initiative with the support of the Dogwood Health Trust and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The CARE initiative supports seniors and medically vulnerable African American/Black residents of Buncombe, Burke, and Rutherford counties and residents in those counties who work in regular contact with others. CARE activities include:

  • COVID-19 health education
  • Distribution of free reusable and disposable masks
  • Sanitation care packages for individuals and families in need

For more information, contact ABIPA at 828-242-8655. If you would like to support ABIPA’s goal of distributing more than 5,000 reusable masks, please visit their website.

New COVID-19 Initiatives
HHS Launches Reimbursement Program for Testing and Treating the Uninsured
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal to reimburse providers and facilities for COVID-19 testing and treatment services. Portal registration is now open, and providers can begin submitting claims on May 6 for services dating back to early February.

National Registry Seeks to Measure Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Providers
The Healthcare Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes (HERO) Registry is encouraging healthcare workers to share experiences to understand perspectives from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative
NC DHHS has partnered with Community Care of North Carolina and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers program office to hire and train up to 250 additional staff to support contact tracing efforts statewide in partnership with local health departments. Learn more about this initiative.
COVID-19 Practice Support Tip Sheets
COVID-19 Financial Assistance (updated 4/27)
Telehealth Information for Patients
Patient and Ultrasound Provider Protection
Ob/Gyn Guidance for COVID-19

For more practice support resources, including labor and delivery guidelines, please see MAHEC’s COVID-19 Regional Response Guidance.
Community Resources to Help You Serve Your Patients

Health Inequities & Social Supports

Behavioral Health & Substance Use Disorders

Public Health Information

  • Regional COVID-19 Information with links to websites and social media pages for local public health departments, hospitals, and WNC-based health organizations. Healthcare providers are encouraged to like and follow these social media pages to stay up to date on local guidance.
Regional & State COVID-19 Trainings & Virtual Support
MAHEC Developing Resilience for Healthcare Workforce
Mondays 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

MAHEC Coordinating Community Resources in WNC
Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:00 am, offered in collaboration with NCCARE360

MAHEC Primary Care COVID-19 Collaborative
Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:00 am

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

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

NC Rural Center’s Rural Talk Series & COVID-19
Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:00 am
Weekly webinars focus on key rural health issues and how COVID-19 is impacting them

NCDD COVID-19 Webinars for People With Disabilities
May 4, 6:30 pm
“Using Telehealth Sessions Effectively to Meet Your Healthcare Needs”

START National Training Institute Virtual 2020
May 4 – 6, 2020

Vaya Health Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) - Suicide Prevention
Each session is open to 25 participants
May 5, 2020 from 9:00 to 11:00 am
May 12, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
May 21, 2020 from 9:00 to 11:00 am
May 27, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
April 24 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
April 17 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
April 10 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report

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
Aledade-logo-cmyk.png          DHTlogo.png          MHP Logo2.jpg          NCCARE360-Logo-transparent.png
ncchw-logo-cmyk_large.png          Pisgah logo_2C.jpg          MAHEC Logo 2019 transparent.png          MAHPC Logo.jpg
Vaya Health Logo HiRes Transparent.png           WCMS with tag & web (sm).jpg          WNCHN_Transparent_Logo.png