State Government
NC Suffers First Flu Death Of The Season PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 16 October 2020 10:43
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services officials announced the first reported flu-related death of the 2020-21 flu season, which occurred the first week of October and involved an adult over 65 years of age in the central part of the state. NCDHHS staff and leadership extend their sympathies to the family and loved ones of this individual during this difficult time. To protect the privacy of the family, the person's hometown, county, age and gender will not be released.
 
“This is a sad reminder that flu can be a serious illness and can lead to complications and even death in some cases,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D., MPH. “With flu season starting during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for people to get a flu vaccine this year.”
 
During the 2019-20 flu season, 186 flu deaths were reported in North Carolina, down from 208 deaths during the 2018-19 flu season. Of those 186 deaths, 105 were people age 65 and older and five were under the age of 18.
 
The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu and its complications. It lowers your likelihood of getting sick. And if you do catch the flu, it’s likely to be milder than if you weren’t vaccinated.  Each year, scientists and health experts develop seasonal flu shots to protect against the three or four flu strains that research suggests will be most common during the upcoming season. The vaccine works by triggering your body to produce protective antibodies that help prevent the flu.
 
The CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection with the flu. It is especially important for those at higher risk of more serious outcomes, such as people over 65 years old, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Some of these same groups are also at high risk of complications from COVID-19.
 
Flu vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments. To find a flu vaccine near you, visit vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine.
 
In North Carolina, flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring with activity usually peaking in January or February. In addition to getting a flu vaccine, the following precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of flu, COVID-19 and other viruses: 

 

Continue to practice the 3Ws — wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands often can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flu
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly
Stay home when sick, except to seek medical care or testing, and take steps to avoid spreading infection to others in your home, including: 
o Staying in a separate room from other household members, if possible
o Using a separate bathroom, if possible
o Avoiding contact with other members of the household and pets
o Not sharing personal household items like cups, towels and utensils
o Wearing a mask when around other people, if you are able to
Individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, local health department or urgent care to avoid exposing others. COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so consult with a doctor about getting tested for flu and/or COVID-19. Flu symptoms include: 
Fever
Cough and/or sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Headaches and/or body aches
Chills
Fatigue
Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should also contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment with a prescription antiviral drug. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Treatment with a prescription antiviral drug is especially important for hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness and those who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.
 
DPH’s surveillance for the 2020-21 flu season began Sept. 27 and will continue through late May. A combined COVID-19 and influenza surveillance summary that includes information on flu-related deaths and activity is posted every Thursday at flu.nc.gov. 
Last Updated on Friday, 16 October 2020 10:45
 
DHHS Implements Electronic Death Registration System To Streamline Reporting PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 08 October 2020 09:55
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will launch its new electronic system to streamline the process for creating death records with a staggered rollout beginning on October 19 in eight counties (Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Johnston, Mecklenburg, Orange and Wake counties). Statewide implementation is anticipated by June 2021. 
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having accurate vital records available as quickly as possible,” said State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, MD, MPH. “By accelerating the time to finalize death certificates from more than a month to a matter of days, we will be able to understand and respond to public health trends faster.” 
 
The state’s new system, NC Database Application for Vital Events (NCDAVE), replaces a manual, paper-based process that could take months and sometimes required funeral home staff to drive to several offices for death certificates to be registered. NCDAVE will allow for greater efficiency, increased data accuracy and consistency in reporting processes. In addition, NCDAVE will provide faster delivery of death certificates, reduce travel cost for funeral firms and improve disease tracking for public health purposes.
 
“Implementing NCDAVE will greatly reduce wait times for families who need their loved ones’ death records and enhance the vital statistics we collect for the state,” said Mark Benton, Assistant Secretary for Public Health.
 
Through NCDAVE, North Carolina’s funeral directors, medical certifiers and medical examiners will compile death information electronically, which can then be submitted to local registrars for the creation of a death certificate and then onward to registers of deeds for issuance. 
 
Death certifiers and registrars in the eight first-round counties will be trained in the web-based application and work with NC Vital Records to implement NCDAVE. In December, 19 additional counties will be added to NCDAVE. 
 
North Carolina Vital Records in the Division of Public Health has been developing the new death registration system since NCDHHS received the necessary funds to design, build and implement a system. The system was developed in coordination with VitalChek and will be used for collecting, storing, transmitting, amending and authenticating information relating to deaths occurring in North Carolina.
 
For more information about death reporting and vital statistics, visit vitalrecords.nc.gov. 
 
Senate Prison Safety Chair Completes Tour Of State's 53 Prison PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 07 October 2020 10:31
Sen. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan) completed his tour of all of the state’s 53 prisons. Sen. Steinburg serves as the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety. 
 
He led the charge for prison reform after five prison employees -- Meggan Callahan, Justin Smith, Veronica Darden, Wendy Shannon, and Geoffrey Howe -- were killed in facilities in his district. Since then he’s personally taken on the Herculean task of traveling across the state to talk with prison staff about the issues plaguing the system and address staff shortages and low pay. 
 
“Politicians often say they’ve traveled from Murphy to Manteo. For me, it’s been from Craggy to Tyrrell. It has been my mission to meet the hardworking men and women in our prisons to learn firsthand what support they need. Those five deaths should have never happened, and I want to make sure we can do our best to ensure no one else loses their life,” Sen. Steinburg said. 
 
Sen. Steinburg’s statewide tour gained the notice of longtime prison employees.
 
“In my 47 years being involved with corrections, I have seen people come and go who provide lip service to the cause of the staff working behind the fences and walls to protect society and hopefully provide opportunities for offenders to lead law-abiding lives. However, I have never seen a public figure the likes of Bob Steinburg, who has tirelessly worked to make prisons better,” Art Beeler, a retired complex warden for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said. “It did not take me long to figure out Sen. Steinburg’s heart is in the right place.” 
 
Since the attacks in prisons in Bertie and Pasquotank counties, Sen. Steinburg has authored the “Prison Reform Act of 2019,” which authorizes studies into the management system of the state’s prisons. The bill passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and became law last year. Since then he’s continued to traverse the state talking one-on-one with prison staff and holding frequent meetings of the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety. 
 
“In all of my travels throughout this country, I have never witnessed any legislative member in a state with more than fifty prisons, conduct detailed site visits in every prison,” Gary C. Mohr, the 106th president of the American Correctional Association said. “Sen. Steinburg did and I am pleased he is being recognized for that accomplishment. There is no doubt he is aware of what is happening in your state’s prisons. The North Carolina Correctional System is safer for the hands-on leadership of Commissioner Ishee and the direct in-person attention Sen. Steinburg has demonstrated.” 
 
While his tour was in progress, the state closed two of its facilities. He was set to finish his tour of prisons early this spring, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to put the visits on hold until it was safe to allow visitors back into those facilities. 
 
“Sen. Steinburg’s dedication to improving the working conditions in our state prisons is commendable,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said. “It’s not an easy task to crisscross the state, but his time and effort will lead to real change that benefits our state employees that put their lives on the line every day.” 
 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2020 10:32
 
Council Of State Approves $700 Million Of Transportation Bonds; Speaker Says Bonds Could Be Issued In Late October PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 06 October 2020 08:53
A $700 million package of 'Build NC' transportation bonds to fund road construction and repairs is on track for issuance by the end of October after being approved by the Council of State on Tuesday. 
 
"These transportation funds will meet immediate road construction and repair needs in North Carolina communities, serving regions that have faced real uncertainty about the future of projects that are critical for their their schools, businesses, and neighborhoods," North Carolina Speaker Tim Moore said. "We continue to prioritize infrastructure needs with powerful budget funding and critical reforms to hep move North Carolina forward as our state continues its rapid growth." 
 
North Carolina's unanimous “AAA” credit rating preserved by the General Assembly's prudent fiscal management of the state budget will ensure low interest rates for the infrastructure bonds. The creation of the Strategic Transportation Investment Program (STIP), along with significant spending on rail, state ports, and aviation assets, are strategic infrastructure priorities that positioned North Carolina as a national leader in attracting jobs. 
 
The General Assembly also approved bipartisan transportation reforms in 2020 to address nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in overspending by the Transportation Department.

 

House Bill 77 addressed concerns raised by State Auditor Beth Wood to increase taxpayer accountability at NCDOT with stronger transparency measures, firm management oversight, and a restructured board with legislative appointees. 
That bill also balanced the department's budget, modified cash balance thresholds, and directed annual NCDOT state audits. 
 
Legislative appointees to the new Board of Transportation will now take a direct role overseeing the agency’s budgets to prevent future cash flow shortages and furloughs that have affected nearly 10,000 employees due to the Cooper administration's mismanagement.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Raleigh, N.C. - A $700 million package of 'Build NC' transportation bonds passed by the Republican-led General Assembly to fund road construction and repairs is on track for issuance by the end of October after being approved by the Council of State on Tuesday. 
 
View from SpeakerMoore.com
 
North Carolina's unanimous “AAA” credit rating preserved by the General Assembly's prudent fiscal management of the state budget will ensure low interest rates for the infrastructure bonds. 
 
The state's ability to borrow with AAA ratings amid a pandemic and economic uncertainty is the result of North Carolina's remarkable fiscal turnaround led by tax, budget, and policy reforms in the state legislature since 2011.
 
The creation of the Strategic Transportation Investment Program (STIP), along with significant spending on rail, state ports, and aviation assets, are strategic infrastructure priorities that positioned North Carolina as a national leader in attracting jobs. 
 
The Build NC bonds continue the state's powerful investments in economic connectivity, said state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). 
 
"These transportation funds will meet immediate road construction and repair needs in North Carolina communities, serving regions that have faced real uncertainty about the future of projects that are critical for their their schools, businesses, and neighborhoods," Speaker Moore said Tuesday. 
 
"We continue to prioritize infrastructure needs with powerful budget funding and critical reforms to hep move North Carolina forward as our state continues its rapid growth." 
 
The General Assembly also approved bipartisan transportation reforms in 2020 to address nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in overspending on Gov. Roy Cooper's watch, which caused widespread employee furloughs and continued uncertainty in road funding. 
 
House Bill 77 addressed concerns raised by State Auditor Beth Wood to increase taxpayer accountability at NCDOT with stronger transparency measures, firm management oversight, and a restructured board with legislative appointees. 
 
That bill also balanced the department's budget, modified cash balance thresholds, and directed annual NCDOT state audits. 
 
Legislative appointees to the new Board of Transportation will now take a direct role overseeing the agency’s budgets to prevent future cash flow shortages and furloughs that have affected nearly 10,000 employees due to the Cooper administration's mismanagement.
 
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 October 2020 09:25
 
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