State Government
DHHS Expands COVID-19 Dashboard PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 24 May 2021 09:29
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services expanded its NC COVID-19 Dashboard to include a new metric – wastewater monitoring.
 
Since January 2021, NCDHHS has been testing wastewater samples to look for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as part of the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System. This new statewide program, known as the North Carolina Wastewater Monitoring Network, is a collaboration between 11 wastewater utilities, 8 local public health departments and researchers at the University of North Carolina.
 
People who are infected with COVID-19 shed viral particles in their feces. These viral particles are no longer infectious in wastewater but can be measured if enough people are infected. Currently, data are reported from 11 wastewater treatment facilities in North Carolina, but the program is expanding to additional sites. 
 
"Wastewater monitoring is a new tool that will help us track the spread of COVID-19 in participating communities even as fewer people are being tested," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. "This can be an early warning system and allow health officials to take actions to stop the spread if trends are increasing."
 
Measuring the virus that causes COVID-19 in wastewater allows NCDHHS to track COVID-19 trends in an entire community served by the same sewer system with one sample. Wastewater monitoring detects virus shed by people who are symptomatic, as well as people who are asymptomatic. This can be important as asymptomatic people are rarely tested and the CDC estimates that 50% of COVID-19 transmission is caused by people without symptoms. Preliminary wastewater data have shown trends similar to what NCDHHS has seen from reporting of individual test results.
 
If wastewater data show an unexpected increase in COVID-19 in a community, NCDHHS will immediately notify the wastewater treatment plant and local health department. NCDHHS recommends that local communities review wastewater data along with other COVID-19 metrics. If warranted, local officials can take the following public health measures: 
Mobilize or increase pop-up testing.
Increase public health communications on the importance of masking, handwashing, social distancing and avoiding large crowds in enclosed spaces.
Alert local hospitals, clinics and other health care providers about a potential increase in cases.
Provide recommendations to community leaders or implement restrictions like limiting indoor gatherings and reducing business capacity.
Take steps to increase vaccination in the community.
There are important limitations to this method of monitoring COVID-19. Approximately 40% of the state’s population uses septic systems for wastewater, so even if all wastewater treatment plants statewide were participating, the data would represent six out of 10 people in North Carolina. Additionally, scientists are still researching exactly how long SARS-CoV-2 shedding occurs and what proportion of people with COVID-19 shed the virus in their feces. 
 
Pinetops Man Charged With Insurance Fraud PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 16:49

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today announced the arrest of Jeffery Scott Fletcher, 55, of 7618 Highway 258 South, Pinetops. Fletcher was charged with insurance fraud and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, both felonies.

Special agents with the Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division accuse Fletcher of falsely telling Travelers Insurance Co. that he did not remember the details of a fire that totaled his 2004 Chevrolet truck on Sept. 8, 2020, in an attempt to collect on an automobile insurance claim.

According to the arrest warrant, Fletcher had previously admitted to an Edgecombe County Sheriff’s investigator that he started the fire that burned his truck.

Edgecombe County deputies arrested Fletcher on May 7. He was released under a $1,000 secured bond.

“Insurance fraud is a crime affecting everyone,” Commissioner Causey said. “Approximately 20% of insurance premium costs go to pay for insurance fraud.”

Since 2017, Commissioner Causey has more than doubled the number of special agents investigating fraud and white-collar crimes. As a result, special agents from 2017 through 2020 have made 1,612 arrests.

To report suspected fraud, contact the N.C. Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840.  Callers may remain anonymous.  Information is also available at www.ncdoi.gov

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 16:51
 
Governor Cooper Signs Two Bills PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 10:09
Governor Roy Cooper signed the following bills into law:

 

Senate Bill 103: Reduce Reg. To Help Children with Autism 
House Bill 217: Utilities Comm'n Tech. and Add'l Changes 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 10:17
 
State Leaders Issue Statement Of Support For Duke Energy PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 10:06
Governor Cooper, House Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Robert Reives, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Senator Dan Blue issued the following statement in response to reporting in the Wall Street Journal of a private investment management fund's interest in taking control of Duke Energy:
 
“We're proud that North Carolina is headquarters to Duke Energy and of the thousands of jobs it provides. For more than a century, Duke has been a valued member of our business community and we appreciate working with them on issues ranging from economic development and inclement weather response to a clean energy future for North Carolina. 
 
“Beyond the pride of a home-state company, though, is the reality that Duke delivers reliable, cost-effective energy to millions of North Carolinians. There are natural concerns that come with putting our state’s energy future in the hands of a Wall Street hedge fund, and we would expect the North Carolina Utilities Commission to strictly scrutinize any such arrangement.
 
“As our state emerges from this pandemic growing and attracting thousands of good new jobs, it is more important than ever for North Carolina to have a strong, independent, in-state utility.”
 
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 May 2021 11:55
 
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