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State Government
Phase 2 COVID-19 Economic Recovery Restrictions Underway PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Friday, 29 May 2020 09:33
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen  announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19. 41. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

 

“North Carolina is using the data to guide our decisions about when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, and overall our key indicators remain stable,” said Governor Cooper. “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.”

 

“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen.

 

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.

 

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing. 

 

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.

 

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level. 

 

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level. 
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
Laboratory Testing 
North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS testing information website.  

 

Tracing Capability
The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments. 

 

Personal Protective Equipment 
Supply chains continue to improve. 

 

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?
Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.  Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches. 
Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys. 

 

Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings. 

 

Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level. 
Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.
The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26. 
 
Last Updated on Friday, 29 May 2020 09:38
 
Governor Announces Board And Commission Appointments PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 29 May 2020 09:29

 

Governor Roy Cooper announced appointments for boards and commissions throughout North Carolina.
Gov. Cooper has nominated the following individual to the North Carolina Employment Security Board of Review:
The Honorable Carolyn J. Thompson of Oxford as representative of employers. Thompson has been a private practice attorney with the Law Offices of Carolyn J. Thompson, P.C. since 2019 after previously serving as Resident Superior Court Judge for 9th Judicial District of North Carolina. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, Families Living Violence Free, the Franklin County Domestic Violence Task Force and as a Volunteer Judge for the Grandville County Teen Court Program.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board:
Jane W. Pippinger of Asheville as a public member. Pippinger is retired after previously serving as both a Doula and Hypnobirthing educator. She now volunteers as a hospice companion. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to North Carolina Board of Architecture:
Cora Cole-McFadden of Durham as a public member. Cole-McFadden was a member of the Durham City Council from 2001-2017 and held public service positions for 32 years in the state retirement system. She was the first African American woman department head in Durham and the first African American woman to be named Mayor Pro Tempore in Durham. 
Roula H. Qubain as an architect. Qubain has more than 28 years of experience in the architectural industry and is a member of the American Institute of Architecture. She is also a founder of the Urban Design Assistance for Communities Under Stress.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Board of Athletic Trainer Examiners:
KaRonne’ Jones of Durham as a public member. Jones wrestled for NC State in the 197-pound weight class from 2010-2014, where he qualified for the NCAA tournament. Jones is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 5 years of experience in mental health. He also works on the Child and Adolescent Unit at the State Psychiatric Hospital where he was nominated for the Governor’s Award of Excellence.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Bar Council:
Patricia R. Head of Littleton as a Public Member. Head served on the Wake County Board of Education as both the Chair and Vice-Chair. She is a past member of the North Carolina State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Commission and the Board of Legal Specialization.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching:
David M. Farris of Rocky Mount as a representative from Educational Region 3. Farris is the President and CEO of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the Carolinas Gateway Partnership Executive Committee, NC East Alliance, Nash County Travel and Tourism and the Downtown Redevelopment. He also served as the Past Chairman of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association.  
Dr. Robert P. Taylor of White Lake as a representative from Educational Region 4. Taylor has served as the Superintendent of Bladen County Schools since 2011. Dr. Taylor serves on the Advisory Council for both the Dean of the School of Education at Fayetteville State University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He also serves on the State Board of Education’s Whole Community School Child Advisory Council, working to create policy for the coordination of services between public schools and public agencies. 
Desarae D. Kirkpatrick of Nebo as a representative from Educational Region 7. Kirkpatrick currently serves as the Principal of East McDowell Middle School in Marion. She is a board member of the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals Association and was named the Northwestern Regional Principal of the Year in 2018. 
Perry L. Harker of Beaufort as a representative from Educational Region 2. Harker currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate and Community Education at Carteret Community College. He has over 30 years of experience in the higher education and administration leadership field. He also serves on the board of directors for the Carteret County Boys and Girls Club, the East Carolina Community Development Inc. and the North Carolina Business Incubation Association.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Child Well-Being Transformation Council:
Debra Farrington of Raleigh as a representative from DHHS, Division of Medical Assistance. Farrington currently serves as chief of staff in the Division of Health Benefits. She is responsible for overseeing the planning, implementation and tracking of short- and long-term projects as well as developing new community initiatives. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Complete Count Commission: 
Keith Thomson of Black Mountain as a member at-large. Thomson is a small business owner providing IT services to local small businesses, non-profits, and churches in Buncombe County for over twenty-five years. He has been active in volunteer service in Buncombe County and Western North Carolina since moving there in 1980. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners:
Renee Byars of Grover as a Cosmetology Instructor. Byars is currently retired after serving as a Cosmetology instructor at Cleveland Community College from 2001-2014. Byars previously served as an Inspector for the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Art. She is the Chairperson on Young Enough to Serve, Youth to Senior Adults. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Credit Union Commission:
Fay Davenport Boyd of Columbia as a public member. Boyd currently serves as Chief Judge of the Tyrrell County Board of Elections. Boyd has also served on numerous boards including Tyrrell County Rural Health and Tyrrell County Board of Social Services. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities:
Kayla N. McMillan of Raleigh as a person with a developmental disability. McMillan has served on the planning committee for the North Carolina Youth Leadership Forum for over six years. She has been involved with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living and the National Council on Independent Living. She previously worked at the Alliance of Disability Advocates Center for Independent Living where she helped initiate youth programs.  
Victor Armstrong of Charlotte as a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services. Armstrong serves as director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, with Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. Victor currently serves on the board of directors of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) NC. He is also former board chair of NAMI NC, and a member of American Association of Suicidology (AAS), and NASW-NC.  
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Film, Television, and Digital Streaming: 
Lindsay Bierman of Durham as a member at-large. Bierman serves as chief executive officer of UNC-TV. Prior to joining UNC-TV, Bierman served as the eighth chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Historic Murfreesboro Commission.
Margret Braswell of Ahoskie as a member at-large. Braswell currently serves as executive vice president of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Ahoskie Regional Visitor’s Center, Rivers East Regional Workforce Development Board, and the Board of Trustees of the Garden Club of North Carolina. 
Frances Bunch of Murfreesboro as a member at-large. Bunch retired from Murfreesboro Farms, Inc. in 2002. She enjoys serving as a member of the Murfreesboro Baptist Church, the N.C. Watermelon Festival Committee, the Murfreesboro Historical Association and as a trustee of Chowan University. 
Suzanne Deets of Murfreesboro as a member at-large. Deets is a retired Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor, Board Certified Clinical Chaplain, and Board-Certified Pastoral Counselor. She is also the author of From Mourning into Joy: Healing in the Grief Process. 
Jacquelyn Ruffin-Pittman of Macclesfield as a member at-large. Ruffin-Pittman currently works as a Media Specialist for two high schools, Northwest Collegiate and Technical Academy and Southeast Collegiate Prep Academy with Halifax County Public Schools.  
Joseph Twine of Murfreesboro as a member at-large. Twine is currently retired after more than 40 years in law enforcement in Hertford, where he was the second African American police officer in Murfreesboro. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Irrigation Contractors` Licensing Board:
J'Nell Bryson of Charlotte as a public member. Bryson is currently serving as principal for J’Nell Bryson landscape architecture in Charlotte. She is responsible for the design and installation of a Children’s Reading Garden in Davidson. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy:
Steve Green of Greensboro as a licensed massage and bodywork therapy establishment owner. Green is a multi-unit franchisee business owner with Massage Envy with 10 years of industry experience. He is a member of the Alamance, Fayetteville, and Myrtle Beach Chambers of Commerce. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Mayland Community College Board of Trustees:
Dr. Charles E. Baker of Crossnore as a member at-large. Baker is currently retired after his 40-year career as a pediatric and family medicine doctor in Avery County. The Baker Center for Primary Care has grown to become the cornerstone of accessible healthcare in the community. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the North Carolina Council on Sickle Cell Syndrome:
Rep. Carla Cunningham of Charlotte as a state or local official concerned w/ public health, social services & rehabilitation. Cunningham represents the 106th District in the North Carolina House of Representatives. She is a Member of the American Nurses Association, North Carolina Nursing Association, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as serving as the co-chair of Democratic House Caucus Women’s Issues Work Group. 
Dr. Olu Jegede of Greensboro as a physician in a medical center or community practice interested in sickle cell syndrome. Jegede currently serves as first care division medical director at Cone Health Community Care Services and as medical director of Cone Health Sickle Cell Medical Center. He is also a member of the American Association of Physician Leadership American College of Healthcare Executives. 
Dr. JJ Strouse of Durham as a teacher or member of a state or local school board. Strouse is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University. He is also Treasurer of the Sickle Cell Adult Provider Network and is Co-Chair of NHLBI Sickle Cell Disease Observational Study Monitoring Board.  
Leigh Downey of Wake Forest as a member at-large. Leigh has worked in the health care system providing financial counseling and assistance for patients and their families for over 20 years.  
Kathy Norcott of Greensboro as a member at-large. Norcott currently serves as the Executive Director of Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency. She also created a support group for adolescents with sickle cell disease. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners:
Rosa M. Gonzalez of Troutman as a public member. Gonzalez cofounded and is the president of El Puente Hispano. She also serves as the Faith Community Nurse for Saint James and Saint Joseph Catholic Churches. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Statewide Independent Living Council:
Brian Michaels of Wake Forest as a Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing representative. Michaels is a Community Resources Program Manager for the Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. There, he supervises the managers of all seven of the division’s regional centers. 
Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individual to the Well Contractors Certification Commission:
Douglas Young of Fayetteville as a public member not engaged in well contractor activity or employed by a well contractor or government agency. Young is the regional sales manager for Crane Pumps & Systems, where he is responsible for both the Southeast & Mid-Atlantic regions. 
 
House Approves Elections Act of 2020 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 28 May 2020 13:10
 
 
Raleigh, N.C. – The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved bipartisan elections funding and reforms by a vote of 116-3 to meet the challenges of COVID-19, including a total prohibition on all-mail elections in North Carolina and expanding methods to securely request absentee ballots for those who need to do so. 
 
View on SpeakerMoore.com 
 
House Bill 1169 Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020 provides funding for local elections boards and adjusts current law to address potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) will address the bill at a 3:30 p.m. press conference on Thursday in the General Assembly. 
 
The legislation makes temporary reforms to North Carolina's current 'no-excuse' absentee ballot policy, which already allows any voter to request an absentee ballot and vote-by-mail without providing justification. 
 
The legislation was approved by the House Committee on Ethics and Elections Law, as well as the House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House, on Wednesday. 
 
H.B. 1169 maintains the ban on the mass gathering or "harvesting" of absentee ballot request forms by groups or individuals, and does not expand strict rules on who is legally authorized to return ballots. 
 
 
Other reforms in the proposed legislation include: 
 
Allowing absentee ballot requests to be submitted by email, fax, or a new online portal. 
 
Providing CARES Act and HAVA matching and federal funds for counties for use for supporting in-person voting and increased absentee ballot costs. 
 
Providing temporary flexibility for recruiting precinct officials. 
 
Permanently prohibiting the State Board of Elections from moving to an all-mail election or sending unrequested ballots to voters.
 
 
The sponsors of H.B. 1169, Representatives Dahle, Grange, Hall, and Harrison released a joint statement:
 
"These election reforms and funding received a bipartisan review in the legislative process and represent joint agreement on our shared priorities of making sure every voter in North Carolina has access to the ballot and confidence in our election results," the lawmakers said in a statement. 
 
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has repeatedly said the legislative process is the proper forum for elections law reforms, not unilateral executive or judicial action.
 
"We continue to forge consensus bipartisan efforts in this General Assembly to provide the people of North Carolina with the funding and reforms they need to meet the challenges of this pandemic, collaboration that will ensure the effective administration of safe and accessible elections in 2020," Moore said Thursday. 
 
House And Senate Bills Would Require A Full Time Nurse At Every NC School PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 May 2020 08:41
Representative Cynthia Ball (D-Wake) has filed House Bill 1203, which will staff every school in each of North Carolina’s 115 school districts with a full-time, permanent school nurse. Representatives Donna White (R-Johnston), Gale Adcock (D-Wake), and Josh Dobson (R- Avery, McDowell, Mitchell) join Representative Ball in sponsoring the bi-partisan bill. NC Senator Wiley Nickel (D-Wake) has filed a companion bill, Senate Bill 850.
 
“School nurses contribute to the health, well-being, and educational success of our public school children, and in many NC communities they are the only health care professional a child sees,” said Representative Ball. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be especially vigilant about monitoring the spread of the disease, particularly in a high-contact environment such as a school. As we contemplate a plan for a return to school, a nurse in each school will have a positive impact on the overall school environment as well as the individual health of students and staff.”
 
NC School Boards Association President Brenda Stephens offers the Association’s support: “As we work with state leaders to develop plans to safely reopen school buildings for our students, staff, families, and community, an essential first step is to provide a nurse in every school. This is a critical investment knowing how quickly COVID-19 can spread and given the growing need for healthcare professionals in our schools even before this pandemic.”
 
And School Nurse Association of NC President Jennifer Sharpe, BSN, RN, NCSN adds, “Each day school nurses balance the responsibilities of student physical health and mental safety, transmission of communicable diseases, and accommodations necessary to ensure every student has access to the legally-required 'appropriate education'. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses are still the primary healthcare liaison between multiple school sites, parents, community resources, and public health entities.”
 
Representative Ball has also sponsored a related bill, House Bill 1206, which will establish a tiered system of support for students by increasing the number of school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists serving our public schools. Representatives Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg) and Sydney Batch (D-Wake) are also primary sponsors. NC Senator Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake) has filed a companion bill, Senate Bill 84
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 08:45
 
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