State Government
HHS Allows Visitation in Long-Term Care Facilities; PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 15 March 2021 10:20
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is updating its visitation guidance for long-term care facilities to allow for in-person, indoor or outdoor, visitation in most circumstances. The change aligns with new guidance released this week from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reflects rapidly improving trends in long-term care facilities.
 
“This action shows that our vaccination efforts are already having benefits,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “I am grateful to all who have worked so hard to protect our most vulnerable residents and am so thankful that families and loved ones can be physically reunited.”
 
In addition to updating its guidance, the department is rescinding Secretarial Order 6: Visitation for Long-term Care Facilities.
 
While outdoor visitation is best when possible, indoor visitation is now allowed for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission in a particular facility. It is recommended that unvaccinated residents who wish to become vaccinated should not start indoor visitation until they have been fully vaccinated.
 
Additionally, new long-term care residents will not be required to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and have not had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days. Fully vaccinated and non-immunocompromised health care providers with higher risk exposures who are asymptomatic also do not need to be restricted from work.
 
In order to mitigate the risk of relaxing restrictions, vaccinating residents and staff in long-term care facilities and continued adherence to prevention measures, including the 3 Ws – wear, wait, wash – are still the safest approach to reducing the spread of COVID-19.  
 
Expanding visitation has substantial benefits to residents and their visitors. In order to keep everyone safe, visitors and residents should continue to adhere to the 3 Ws, and visitors should still be screened and restricted from visiting if they have signs or symptoms of infection or have been in prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the prior 14 days. 
 
 
 
People With High-Risk Medical Conditions Will Be Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine On March 17 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 11 March 2021 17:46
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced beginning on March 17, people in Group 4 who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness and people who live in certain congregate settings will be eligible for vaccination. The rest of Group 4, which includes other essential workers will become eligible April 7. 
 
“This move to Group 4 is good news,” said Governor Cooper. “I know there are many efforts across the state getting vaccines to people as quickly and fairly as possible and I want our providers to know that their work is making all the difference.”
 
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is in constant contact with providers across the state and surveys both their vaccine capacity and supply. The state was able to update its timeline today based on provider feedback and expected supply. As with previous eligibility changes, some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to Group 4 on March 17 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1 through 3.
 
“We are very fortunate to now have three tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that keep people out of the hospital and prevent death from this virus,” said Secretary Cohen. “With improving supplies, North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and meet our goals to provide equitable access to vaccinations in every community in the state.” 
 
More than 1.1 million North Carolinians have been fully vaccinated as the state works with local health departments and providers to distribute this vaccine quickly and equitably. While supply is still limited, the increased federal allocation of doses is helping providers administer vaccines to more people. 
 
North Carolina has continued to emphasize equity in the vaccine distribution process. In the last four weeks, more than 20 percent of the state’s first doses have been administered to Black North Carolinians. On Sunday, Bloomberg News recognized North Carolina as the leader in the nation for reporting demographic data on who has been vaccinated down to the county level.
 
On Wednesday, Governor Cooper attended the opening of a federally supported community vaccination center opened in Greensboro, This site — one of just 18 sites nationally — will help the state continue its effort to reach more marginalized and underserved communities. The federal government will provide the center’s vaccine supply, which is in addition to North Carolina’s weekly allotment from the Centers for Disease Control. The site will operate seven days a week with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day, with options for drive-thru service in the parking lot and walk-in service.
 
Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). North Carolinians can find vaccine providers in their community through the NCDHHS online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The COVID-19 vaccine help center is available to answer vaccine questions at 888-675-4567. 
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March 2021 17:47
 
Senate Passes Bill Requiring Sheriffs To Honor Some ICE Detainers PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 11 March 2021 17:34

The North Carolina Senate today passed Senate Bill 101, "Require Cooperation with ICE 2.0," on a party line vote. 

 
The measure requires North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when dealing with suspected illegal immigrants already in jail for committing a violent crime who have detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 
 
Two years ago, the legislature passed a broader measure to require sanctuary cities to honor ICE detainer requests for all offenders. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed that bill, preventing it from becoming law.
 
The bill that passed today is more limited, only requiring sanctuary cities to cooperate with ICE for violent offenders in jail for murder, rape and other sexual offenses, gang-related crimes, human trafficking, drug trafficking, or assault. 
 
Even so, all Democrats voted against the bill.
 
Senator Wiley Nickel of Wake County who voted no, said, "I opposed this legislation in 2019 in large part because it would create fear and distrust between immigrant communities and local police. When local police carry out immigration enforcement, immigrant communities are very hesitant to report crimes for fear of being deported or having loved ones deported. That’s one of the main reasons that Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker and other large county sheriffs oppose this bill.
 
 “This bill is harmful to our immigrant communities. It will erode trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. SB 101 will discourage immigrant communities from contacting law enforcement when they need help, leading to less safe communities.”
 
Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) said, "I cannot fathom how anybody could support shielding an illegal immigrant who rapes or murders a North Carolinian. Removing violent criminals who are here illegally should be a unanimous priority." 
 
Sen. Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico) said, "Reasonable immigration laws like this used to be a shared priority among Republicans and Democrats. It wasn't too long ago that now-President Biden opposed sanctuary cities and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer voted to build a wall on the southern border. Now, the Democratic Party's agenda supports shielding murderers and rapists from deportation." 
 
Sen. Danny Britt (R-Robeson) said, "There are very recent examples right here in North Carolina of the danger sanctuary city policies pose. For example, ICE had to chase down a child sex offender here illegally after the Mecklenburg County sheriff rejected an ICE detainer request and released the offender from custody." 
 
Sanctuary cities in North Carolina have argued that ICE detainers are not legitimate warrants and local officers are not required to enforce federal laws. Senate Bill 101 resolves those concerns by requiring arrestees with an outstanding ICE detainer to appear before a magistrate judge, who could then issue a warrant. This alleviates the concerns of sanctuary cities because local law enforcement must follow a magistrate judge’s determination.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March 2021 17:40
 
DHHS Expands COVID-19 Dashboard PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Wednesday, 10 March 2021 17:49
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide more demographic data on people who are partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Users will be able to see vaccinations by race, ethnicity, gender and age group by county, by week and since vaccinations began. The information will be displayed on a new tab named “Demographics” on the dashboard.
 
The new Demographics page will allow people to see week-to-week progress statewide and by county. The charts on this page can be filtered to show: 
 
Of the vaccines administered each week what percent were administered by race, ethnicity, age group and gender. The data can be viewed by percent of people at least partially vaccinated and percent of people fully vaccinated. A cumulative total is also presented.  
The percent of the population by race, ethnicity, age group and gender that has been partially or fully vaccinated. A cumulative total is also presented.  
The Vaccination Summary also includes new information, including: 
Percent of population at least partially vaccinated
Percent of population fully vaccinated
Single shot doses allocated by federal government, arrived in North Carolina, total doses administered and percent arrived doses administered for both NC providers and the Federal Long-Term Care program
 
North Carolina has been recognized for the quality and transparency of its vaccine data dashboard. For the second week in a row, Bloomberg News scored North Carolina as best in the nation on data quality, reporting race and ethnicity data for nearly 100 percent of people vaccinated in the state.
 
Data by demographics do not currently include information on doses that have been administered in NC through federal programs. Percent of population metrics are calculated using the entire NC population (i.e., all ages). When a county has a population of fewer than 500 individuals for a specific demographic group, some data are suppressed to protect patient privacy. Data shown are preliminary and may change. There can be a 72-hour lag in data reported to NCDHHS.  
 
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