WNC COVID-19 Regional Report - July 10, 2020

July 13, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020
This week’s report highlights COVID-19 trends, pandemic-related state legislation, best practices for telemedicine treatment for opioid use disorder, data on the impacts of racism on well-being, and new resources and training opportunities for providers and their patients.
Monitoring Trends
Age-adjusted data from CDC through June 27 show American Indian and Alaskan Native, Black, and Hispanic or Latino Americans are 4 to 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than White Americans of similar age.
Key Observations this Week

New confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations reached record highs again last week with

  • 2,099 new cases on July 3
  • 1,034 hospitalizations on July 8
Interim Public Health Director Jennifer Mullendore, MD, announced yesterday that lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County are rising at “an alarming rate,” with 50 positive lab results received on Wednesday and 42 by midday on Thursday.

On July 2, Governor Cooper signed the Medicaid Funding Act into law to expand COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state. He also vetoed a number of house and senate bills aimed at reopening certain classes of businesses including amusement parks and arcadesskating rinks and bowling alleys, and exercise and fitness facilities.

Telemedicine Expands Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
A recent commentary in the Journal of Rural Health highlights how primary care’s rapid transition to telemedicine during COVID-19 has improved access to medication treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD).

Primary care practices are finding it is possible to provide high-quality remote care for OUD by integrating alternate screening protocols and telecounseling services. Telemedicine may continue to be a key strategy beyond COVID-19 for improving access to care, particularly in underserved rural areas.
COVID-19 & Structural Racism Deal Brutal Blow to Black Well-Being
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A recent Associated Press article highlights the experience of Asheville resident Royanna Williams and other Black people across the nation. The article also highlights age- and race-adjusted data from the Brookings Institution that show the COVID-19 death rate for Black people is 3.6 times that of their White counterparts. LatinX/Hispanic, Native American, and Asian individuals are also at increased risk of serious illness and death.

To address these significant health inequities, NCDHHS has just launched the Community testing in High-priority And Marginalized Populations (CHAMP) Initiative to increase access to COVID-19 testing for African American, LatinX/Hispanic and Native American communities that currently have limited testing sites.

The CHAMP Initiative will deploy up to 300 free testing sites in more than 100 ZIP codes, providing access for up to 2.2 million African American, LatinX/Hispanic and Native American individuals across North Carolina.
COVID-19 Practice Support Guidance

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

Patient Education

NEW & Ongoing COVID-19 Virtual Trainings & Support
”Let’s Talk” Webinar Series: COVID-19 and our LatinX Communities (Buncombe County DHHS)
Tuesday, July 14 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm

Racial Disparities in Accessing OUD Treatment and the Impact of COVID-19 (FORE)
Thursday, July 16 from 3:00 to 4:00 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

Virtual Support Group for WNC Healthcare Workers
Thursdays at 7:00 pm

COVID-19 Practice Support Webinars (NC AHEC)
Daily with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions and archived webinars

COVID-19 Wellness Resources for Providers, WCMS Healthy Healers

Counseling and Healing Sessions, free virtual support for healthcare providers and their families

Hope4Healers Helpline, 24/7 mental health support for healthcare professionals (919-226-2002)

Mental Health Support Line, free mental health support for medical workers (800-327-7451)
July 2
June 26
June 19June 12
June 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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