The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine data dashboard now includes county-level vaccination information from federal providers, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Indian Health Service.
The data is included on the dashboard’s "People Vaccinated by County of Residence" map. The new data provides a more accurate representation of vaccinations in North Carolina’s counties.
The new data is only available for vaccine totals at the state and county levels. It is not yet available for the "Doses Administered by Week" or the "Demographics Data" sections. Data for these two sections comes only from North Carolina's COVID-19 Vaccine Management System, which only includes information from providers who report data directly to the state. Therefore, these sections of the dashboard undercount the true number of doses administered to North Carolina residents.
Additionally, a new dropdown will be available on the county map allowing users to view data for the following demographics: Total Population, Population 12+ Years of Age, Population 18+ Years of Age and Population 65+ Years of Age. The vaccine data dashboard is updated every weekday. For more information and to view the NCDHHS vaccine data dashboard, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/vaccinations.
Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) welcomes Bob Bessey as volunteer services and hospital gift shop supervisor.
Bessey has worked in various health care roles for over 30 years, and the last 15 of which he served working with and leading a group of hospital volunteers in Greensboro, N.C. In his new role as volunteer services supervisor, Bessey is responsible for operations of the hospital’s Giving Tree gift shop and the auxiliary group, as well as overseeing volunteer services and its community relations activities.
Volunteer roles at EWCH are currently available. Volunteers are asked to serve at least one day per week for two to four hours. Areas in which volunteers are needed include the gift shop, nursing units, radiology, cardio-pulmonary rehab, and general support roles. All volunteer roles require basic mobility and problem-solving skills, as well as a health screening conducted by EWCH.
“I’m thrilled to be able to work with such an amazing team of volunteers at EWCH,” said Bessey. “This community is full of compassionate and caring people who have all welcomed me, and I hope we can engage some of those individuals as volunteers as well.”
The Giving Tree gift shop is managed by EWCH volunteers. Profits generated by the shop are given back to the local community in the form of gifts to assist special programs and services at the hospital. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Bob brings terrific experience to our program,” said Emilia Jones, Erlanger’s volunteer services director. “We are eager to grow the program in western North Carolina, and we look forward to continuing to support the needs of the local community.”
For more information about volunteering at Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital or to apply, visit erlanger.org/volunteering or call 828-837-8161.
When Mountain Heritage Day makes a triumphant return to the Western Carolina University campus on Saturday, Sept. 25, it will come with a full day of live music.
The annual festival of Southern Appalachian traditions and culture is renowned as a showcase of bluegrass, old-time and traditional music, as well as family activities, vendors and the region’s finest arts and crafts. The 2020 festival was an abbreviated, virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have the perfect lineup for us to get back in front of a live audience. Many of our favorites are returning and we get to welcome some new artists, too,” said Christy Ashe, WCU special events director and festival chair. “We will be following COVID-19 protocols and are actively encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, so we can actually return to being together in this celebration.”
Ashe announced the schedule for the Blue Ridge Stage:
“Mountain Heritage Day allows us to share culture,” said Uncle Ted White of the Whitewater Bluegrass Band. “It is so important that it includes children, so we can keep traditions alive. That is what Mountain Heritage Day does every year, bringing us together and creating a legacy for coming generations.”
There will also be the Circle Tent and the Children’s Tent with continual performances, including workshops, sing-alongs, storytelling, and a community square dance, along with children’s play-party activities. Ann Woodford will bring alive local stories of the African American community; the Deitz Family, who played bluegrass and mountain folk songs at the first festival up until now; the Pressley Girls, an authentic Appalachian duet from Brasstown who have tight harmonies in classic tunes; and Sparky and Rhonda Rucker tell stories of their southern Appalachian roots and the African American component, with Jack Tales, ghost stories, preacher yarns and Br’er Rabbit stories. Will Ritter will play interludes and provide music for the square dancing.
For more information and updates, go to www.mountainheritageday.com.
North Carolina to Require Vaccine Verification for State Employees, Urges Other Government Agencies and Private Employers to do the Same
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that state government would begin verifying vaccination status of its workers. Employees not vaccinated are required to wear a mask and be tested at least once a week. Today’s announcement comes as North Carolina’s latest upswing in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is driven by unvaccinated North Carolinians.
“Until more people get the vaccine, we will continue living with the very real threat of serious disease, and we will continue to see more dangerous and contagious variants like Delta,” said Governor Cooper.
NCDHHS updated guidance encourages private sector businesses to, at a minimum, verify vaccination status for their workers as well. The requirement for state government employees applies to cabinet agencies and is included in Executive Order 224.
“There is only one way out of this pandemic and that is vaccination. Our trends are accelerating at an alarmingly fast rate and the highest rates of viral spread are happening in areas with low vaccination rates and among those who are not fully vaccinated,” said Secretary Cohen. “If you are already vaccinated, I call on you to urge your unvaccinated family and friends to get their shot now. It is not an understatement to say that you will save lives by doing so.”
The NCDHHS updated guidance reminds unvaccinated people that they need to continue practicing the three Ws – wear a mask in all indoor public settings, wait six feet apart in all public settings and wash hands often. In addition, unvaccinated people should not gather with other unvaccinated people who do not live with them. If they do, they should stay outside and keep 6 feet of distance. In addition, unvaccinated people should not travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new mask guidance this week based on levels of transmission in communities. The new maps designate counties as areas of low (blue), moderate (yellow), substantial (orange) or high (red) transmission. Moving forward, everyone in a red or orange county in North Carolina, including those who have been vaccinated, should wear a mask in public indoor settings.
Additionally, in accordance with the updated CDC guidance, all K-12 schools should require universal masking, regardless of vaccination status. NCDHHS is updating its guidance for schools to align with this recommendation.
To date, North Carolina has administered nearly 9.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 57 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. 61 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 86 percent of North Carolinians 65 and over.
Learn more about the state’s vaccine distribution at myspot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). Details on the Your Shot at $1 Million Summer Cash Drawing can be found at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/summervaxcash. Use NCDHHS’ online tool Find a Vaccine Location to find a nearby vaccine site. Call the state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 888-675-4567.
Read the Executive Order.
Read a Frequently Asked Questions document.
COVID-19 Cases Rapidly Increasing in Unvaccinated North Carolinians; Hospitalizations Doubled in Two Weeks
More Counties Now Have Substantial Community Spread in