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State Government
Public Health Officials Confirm Legionnaires Case Outside Of Mountain State Fair PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Friday, 18 October 2019 10:03

Public health officials are reporting a case of Legionnaires’ disease in a person who did not attend the Mountain State Fair but was present at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center (WNC Ag Center) after the fair ended. This person attended the Quilt Show held at the WNC Ag Center Sept. 27–29. 

To date, this is the only case of Legionnaires’ disease in an individual who did not attend the NC Mountain State Fair but was at the WNC Ag Center after the fair ended on Sept. 15. To protect the individual’s privacy, specific information such as county of residence or age will not be released. 

 

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by infection with the Legionella bacteria. People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in aerosolized water (small droplets of water in the air) that contain the bacteria. Symptoms usually begin two to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
 
“We don’t know how or where this person might have been exposed to the Legionella bacteria,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “It is possible that they were exposed at the WNC Ag Center, but Legionella bacteria are very common in the environment so we can’t rule out exposure in another location.” 
 
Preliminary findings from the public health outbreak investigation suggest that exposure to Legionella during the Mountain State Fair occurred in the Davis Event Center, particularly during the last five days of the fair. Additional analysis of information collected during the investigation is ongoing. 
 
Public health officials are continuing to monitor for new cases of Legionnaires’ disease and have not identified any other reports in people who were at the WNC Ag Center after the Mountain State Fair ended. 
 
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can be very similar to the flu or other respiratory infections that are common at this time of year. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms to determine whether testing or treatment for any of these infections might be needed. 
 
Health officials visited the WNC Ag Center on Sept. 25 and 27 and did not identify any significant sources of aerosolized water. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) suspended the rental of the Davis Event Center at the WNC Ag Center for mitigation activities after Legionella bacteria were found in one of six samples. Out of an abundance of caution, NCDACS recommended and supervised an extensive industrial cleaning of the WNC Ag Center water system. Legionella was not found in follow-up testing of samples collected on Oct. 4 and 7. 
 
More information about Legionnaires’ disease can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html and on the DPH website at  epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/legionellosis.html.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2019 10:08
 
Cooper Bemoans Delay Approval Of Utility Commission Appointees PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 17 October 2019 08:24

The following is from the Office of the Governor

 

On May 1, Governor Roy Cooper sent the legislature three non-controversial nominees for the North Carolina Utilities Commission: Senator Floyd McKissick, Kimberly Duffley and Jeff Hughes. Despite multiple pending cases to set the rates North Carolinians will pay for electricity, the legislature has yet to approve these nominees. To date, they have yet to receive a confirmation vote in both chambers, with only McKissick receiving a vote in the House in July.

“Each of these nominees has met with legislators, answered their questions and presented their qualifications. The people of North Carolina deserve a complete commission to protect their pocketbooks and keep the work of the utilities commission on track,” said Governor Cooper.

The issues the commission considers, including rate cases, tend to be lengthy, complex and require a great deal of work by experts named to the commission to ensure that rate-payers are adequately represented. When utilities’ request an increase in what they can charge, they need review in a timely way to ensure the business of keeping the lights on is not hampered. This can not happen with three of seven utilities commission seats empty.

While North Carolinians wait and the commission’s work is limited by having only four sitting members, the legislature is taking another break to try to figure out how to force their partisan agenda despite North Carolinians clear priorities to raise teacher pay and expand Medicaid.

WHY THE DELAY?

Despite days and weeks of no votes and no action in the state legislature, these non-controversial, well-qualified nominees have yet to get a confirmation vote. Each of the nominees has spent time meeting with state lawmakers to share their credentials and answer questions. There has been no question of their qualifications or ability to serve fairly as commissioners.

The Republican leadership’s pattern of stalling and inaction while watching for chances to assert their partisan agenda is opportunistic at best and obstructionist at worst. This is the second time the legislature has delayed action on Governor Cooper’s utilities commission nominees. In 2017, the legislature adjourned without considering Charlotte Mitchell and ToNola Brown-Bland’s nominations until the following year. There is no reason to delay highly qualified people from sitting on the utilities commission that regulates the safety and affordability of water and electricity for all North Carolinians.

A PLAN FOR A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE

Governor Cooper continues to lead North Carolina toward a clean energy future, building a plan that includes an expansive and inclusive process to modernize how we deliver electricity. Last month, he unveiled the Clean Energy Plan, that set short-term and long-term goals to increase the use of clean energy and modernize how North Carolina regulates electricity.

Delaying appointments to the utilities commission also delays important goals in the Clean Energy Plan that will combat climate change, grow jobs and ensure reliable, safe electricity for our state. The plan assumes a full commission will be in place to rule on critical questions that only the Utilities Commission can consider. 

 

 
Governor Orders State Flags Lowered In Honor Of Deceased Army Private From Fayetteville PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 17 October 2019 08:21

Governor Roy Cooper today ordered all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, October 18, in honor of US Army Pvt. Andrew McLean. Pvt. McLean died while preparing for a physical training exercise on September 10.

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Pvt. McLean was assigned to the 3rd Battalion 60th Infrantry Regiment Team in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Services for Pvt. McLean will be held at the Daniel Circle Chapel in Fort Jackson on Friday.  

 

As a sign of respect, individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are welcome to fly the flag at half-staff for the same duration of time.

 

 Code

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 October 2019 08:30
 
NC Medicaid Managed Care Open Enrollment Has Begun PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 October 2019 11:29

Open enrollment for Medicaid Managed Care has begun.  Most people who receive Medicaid can choose a health plan and primary care provider to deliver their Medicaid services as part of the state’s transformation to managed care. Today’s announcement expands open enrollment from the initial 27 counties that launched mid-July to all 100 counties and an additional 860,000 people. Open enrollment ends for everyone on Dec. 13, 2019, and coverage is scheduled to begin Feb. 1, 2020.

 
Enrollment packets were mailed over the last two weeks to the remaining 73 counties in managed care regions 1, 3, 5 and 6. Packets include a letter, enrollment form, information sheet, comparison chart and postage-paid envelope. 
 
An enrollment website is available to help people learn more about their options, enroll in a health plan and select a primary care provider. There is also an NC Medicaid Managed Care mobile app available on Google Play and the App Store. Additionally, the Medicaid Managed Care Call Center (833-870-5500) is staffed with enrollment specialists who are independent from the health plans. These specialists can help people find the health plan that is best for them and their family. 
 
Earlier this year, the Department awarded contracts to five health plans. All health plans are required to have the same Medicaid services, such as office visits, blood tests and X-rays. Health plans also have added services such as gym memberships and healthy pregnancy programs. Each health plan has its own network of qualified doctors and health care professionals. 
 
In 2015, the NC General Assembly enacted legislation directing the Department of Health and Human Services to transition Medicaid and NC Health Choice from fee-for-service to managed care. Under managed care, the Department contracts with insurance companies, which are paid a predetermined set rate per person to provide all services. Transforming North Carolina’s Medicaid program to managed care is the most significant change made since its inception.
 
For questions about open enrollment, call the Medicaid Managed Care Call Center at (833) 870-5500 or visit ncmedicaidplans.gov. For general information about the transformation to managed care, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 
 
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