WNC COVID-19 Regional Report - June 5, 2020

June 5, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020
This week’s report updates regional trends and highlights new research on the effectiveness of preventive measures, how to address implicit bias in your practice, the latest COVID-19 practice guidance, and new resources and trainings to support vulnerable patients and balancing office-based services with telehealth.
Monitoring Trends
COVID-19 Graph 060420.jpg
Click chart to see current data. Chart courtesy of Dogwood Health Trust.
Key Observations this Week
WNC cases are on the rise with the easing of restrictions. Outbreaks in high-contact areas with individuals at higher risk, such as long-term care and correctional facilities, remain a source of concern.

WNC hospitalizations are on the rise. The number of Mission Health patients testing positive for COVID-19 has risen over the last two weeks. Many of these patients are cared for in the ICU, and several of them are on ventilators. While this is a significant increase, it is neither overwhelming nor unexpected, according to Mission’s Chief Medical Officer William Hathaway, MD.

Testing is on the rise. Testing for asymptomatic and at-risk individuals continues to increase as does community-based testing for those with symptoms in historically marginalized communities.
Global Meta-Analysis Shows Public Health Measures Work

A recent meta-analysis of studies across 16 countries and six continents published in The Lancet shows the effectiveness and importance of preventive measures for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 meter (3 feet) or more
  • Protection increased as distance increased
  • Face mask use, esp. N95 or similar respirators, could result in a large reduction in risk
  • Eye protection was also associated with less infection
Racism is Public Health Emergency

Recent events have painfully reminded us that we are in the midst of more than one public health emergency, one is arguably more longstanding and devastating. The impacts of historical institutional racism can be seen in COVID-19 and many other health, economic, and social outcomes.

It is vital that we recognize our own potential for unintended but implicit bias in this pandemic and take necessary steps to address it. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Am I assessing my patients’ symptoms differently?
  • Am I recommending and ordering COVID-19 testing equitably?
  • Is free testing available for the most vulnerable members of my community?
  • Do community members know about it? Can they access it?
  • What can I do to help vulnerable patients who are not currently engaging in care?

Healthcare providers are encouraged to collect, document, and report demographic data—including race and ethnicity—to ensure we understand testing trends in our region as we have very limited data.

The resources section includes a number of resources to assist your work to achieve health equity.

COVID-19 Practice Support Tip Sheets
COVID-19 LibGuide.jpg
For more practice support resources, please see MAHEC’s COVID-19 Regional Response Guidance.
NEW Community Resources to Help You Serve Your Patients

Clinical Support

Health Inequities & Social Support

Patient Education Videos: Reducing Risks for COVID-19

NEW & Ongoing COVID-19 Virtual Trainings & Support

MAHEC Rebalancing Practice Operations in the Summer of COVID
June 9, Tuesday at 11:00 am

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

MAHEC Webinars on Resilience & Community Resources for COVID-19
Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:00 am

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

Vaya Health Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Trainings
Each session is open to 25 participants

Western Carolina Medical Society: Weekly Virtual Wellness Series

  • Group coachingTuesdays at 6:30 pm, with Ryan Bayley, MD, with a focus on physician wellness
  • Yoga and meditationSaturdays at 10:00 am, with Robyn Tiger, MD; no prior experience or registration needed, and each session is family friendly
May 29 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
May 22 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
May 15 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
May 8 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
May 1 WNC COVID-19 Regional Report
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
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