The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on both routine kidney care and the number of transplants. At the same time, the estimated 37 million American adults with chronic kidney disease are at greater risk of contracting the virus.
With more numbers than ever, it can be hard to understand the magnitude of the pandemic in North Carolina. N.C. Health News created three charts to help make sense of coronavirus in the state.
In the last week, Buncombe County’s percentage of positive tests has jumped from 2% to 4%. Although North Carolina’s statewide positivity rate hovers around 9%, the local increase indicates a rise in the coronavirus’ community prevalence.
In Western North Carolina, the main regional hospitals say they currently have more than enough capacity to provide care for area residents. But their approaches, protocols and treatment options for COVID-19 vary.
North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends continue to move in the wrong direction, according to a July 2 update by Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of health and human services. But in addition to tracking lab-confirmed cases of the disease, NCDHHS is also tracking COVID-like illnesses reported at health care facilities, which can give early warning of subsequent COVID-19 numbers.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, both LGBTQ youths and adults faced obstacles that others never had to think about. And COVID-19 has only exacerbated those disparities.
New research, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, suggests that humidity plays a greater role than does the temperature in the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Weather is just another factor that we need to be incorporating in our infectious disease modeling,” says lead author Jennifer Runkle, an environmental epidemiologist with the Asheville-based North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies at N.C. State University.
After reviewing death records, a county long-term care facility is now regarding 10 deaths previously attributed to COVID-19 as not caused by the coronavirus. The change will lower Buncombe’s total COVID-19 deaths to 30.
Masks are required, bars are closed and isolation fatigue is setting in. As Buncombe enters this new phase, Xpress took a look at the COVID-19 stats — both in Western North Carolina and in some likely points of origin for short-term visitors.
A new statewide face covering mandate will go into effect on Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m., a month after Buncombe County began requiring face coverings in all public indoor facilities. Under the new executive order, people are required to wear a face covering in all indoor or outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.
Masks will be required in public places on honor system except when eating or drinking. Businesses that don’t require masks may be cited.
According to the latest data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, individuals under the age of 50 make up 67% of COVID-19 cases but only 5% of COVID-19 deaths. Plus, statewide metrics continue to worsen.
As confirmed by Mission spokesperson Nancy Lindell on June 11, the health system’s legal representatives have chosen not to file an objection regarding how a pre-election hearing was conducted. The National Labor Relations Board will now consider testimony to determine what nurses would be represented by the union, when the vote will take place and how employees will be allowed to cast ballots.
Well before COVID-19 hit Western North Carolina, Henderson County formed a strike team to respond to outbreak in long-term care facilities. As the months wore on, the team proved invaluable to staff and residents at Cherry Springs Village, an assisted living facility in Hendersonville.
North Carolina reports highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for second straight day. Plus, Aston Park Health Care Center reports more deaths than any other congregate living facility in the state.
“You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that when you take away people’s routines and jobs, it’s difficult for them, especially if they have a mental illness,” says Brian Ingraham, CEO of Vaya Health. New federal funding will help two Western North Carolina agencies expand mental health services, some directly related to the pandemic and the rest addressing overall behavioral health issues.
Noting that 34% of North Carolina’s 898 COVID-19 deaths through June 1 have been among African Americans, who make up roughly 22% of North Carolina’s population, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen emphasized that structural racism has created health disparities in black communities.
Support for programs in Buncombe County that serve older adults — one of the groups most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 — is set to decrease by more than $78,000 from the current fiscal year, according to a new budget proposed by the county’s Health and Human Services department.
“Most breast cancers require a combination of different treatments, and the order and combination of those things is a whole lot more complicated today than ever before,” says Dr. Blair Harkness, a gynecological oncologist at Hope Women’s Cancer Centers, an arm of Mission Health. Xpress explores the state of modern breast cancer treatment in the region — including how it’s been affected by COVID-19.
In its second article on COVID-19 hotspot Aston Park Health Care Center, AVL Watchdog speaks with the families of some residents. Unable to see their loved ones in person, they are faced with the difficult task of waiting and hoping.
Ruth Pike-Elliot and her wife Bren are expecting their first child on June 4. Quarantining during a pregnancy presents obvious challenges, says the mother-to-be. But the couple has also discovered many benefits in the process.