Group 4 vaccinations to begin March 24 for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk or who live in certain congregate settings
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning tomorrow, March 3. The expedited timeline follows the approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to North Carolina.
“The state and our providers continue to work extremely hard to get people vaccinated in a way that’s fast and fair,” said Gov. Cooper. “The third vaccine and improving vaccine supply will help us get more people vaccinated more quickly. Our essential frontline workers have remained on the job throughout this pandemic and I am grateful for their work.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation. A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. While there is still not enough vaccine for everyone, the improved supply has contributed to providers reporting readiness to expand access to additional Group 3 essential workers. Under the timeline outlined today, providers may move to vaccinating these individuals on March 3. Sec. Cohen also unveiled a Public Service Announcement encouraging vaccine use among Group 3 essential workers. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)
State officials continue to encourage providers to exhaust each week’s vaccine shipment before the following week’s shipment arrives. Some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to frontline essential workers on March 3 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1, 2, and 3.
Gov. Cooper also outlined an expected timeline for beginning Group 4 vaccinations. Beginning on March 24, people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)
“This is a really exciting moment,” said Secretary Cohen. "A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner and keep people out of the hospital and prevent deaths from this pandemic.”
NCDHHS also shared clarifications for Groups 1 and 4. The definition of long-term care in Group 1 has been updated for people with intellectual and developmental disability. Higher-risk medical conditions for Group 4 include intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.
Gov. Cooper will continue to advocate to increase vaccine supply in North Carolina. Since January 20, the amount of vaccine received by the state has increased by 135%.
This week, the federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) one-shot vaccine and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the state beginning on Wednesday.
On March 10, a federally-supported community vaccination center will open 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 will be in addition to North Carolina’s weekly allotment from the Centers for Disease Control. It 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.
State officials continue to prioritize speed and equity in vaccine distribution as eligibility prioritization expands. On February 26, the Kaiser Family Foundation ranked North Carolina as first in the nation for vaccinating the largest share of its 65 and older population.
Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).
Watch the DHHS Group 3 Vaccine PSA Here.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the February 26, 2021 arrest of 53 year old Terry Leon Simmons of Andrews, North Carolina, 43 year old Tina Jane Hill of Marble, North Carolina and 39 year old Keith Ryan Noles also of Marble, North Carolina for conspiring to possess crystal methamphetamine.
In October 2020, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of 444 Lower Vengeance Creek Road, Marble North Carolina, the residence of Hill and Noles. In the search a trafficking amount of methamphetamine and several firearms were seized. From that search, Hill and Noles were charged for trafficking in methamphetamine and felon in possession of firearm. Hill and Noles subsequently were released on secure bonds.
During the last week of February 2021, with the assistance of agents with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, North Carolina ALE and Detectives of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office a joint investigation resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of crystal methamphetamine and additional firearms and other suspected illegally possessed controlled substances destined for Cherokee County North Carolina.
Keith Ryan Noles, and Tina Jane Hill were arrested and are currently incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center for Conspiracy to Traffic Methamphetamine in excess of 400 grams. Both are under a $300,000.00 secure bond.
Terry Leon Simmons was arrested and is also charged with Conspiracy to Traffic Methamphetamine in excess of 400 grams. Simmons at the time of arrest had an additional amount of methamphetamine and paraphernalia on his person. Simmons is currently incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center under a $350,000.00 secure bond.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated “This has been a total team effort by our office working in cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. This is a large seizure and as we continue our investigation we anticipate additional arrests in the future. Further, as you can see these individuals continue their criminal activities even after arrest. We appreciate and are glad for the cooperation of our federal, state and local partners in these endeavors.”
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at email@example.com.
Key indicators used to guide decisions throughout pandemic show state’s trends are moving in the right direction
As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will carefully ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 will take effect February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.
“Today’s action is a show of confidence and trust, but we must remain cautious. People are losing their loved ones each day,” said Governor Cooper. “We must keep up our guard. Many of us are weary, but we cannot let the weariness win. Now is the time to put our strength and resilience to work so that we can continue to turn the corner and get through this.”
“Keep wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, and washing your hands. We’ve seen in the past how fragile progress can be, so we need to keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Today’s Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.
30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
50% Capacity Limit
Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.
Today marks the first day of eligibility for teachers to receive vaccination as the state begins to expand access to group 3 essential workers. Due to manufacturers’ shipping delays caused by inclement weather, DHHS continues to work with providers to administer both last week’s shipment and this week’s shipment this week and continue to exhaust first dose supply before next week’s shipment arrives.
Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
Read Executive Order No. 195.
Read Frequently Asked Questions.
View the slides from today’s briefing.
NC Educators, school personnel and child care workers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 24
Gov. Cooper Outlines Timeline on Group 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization
Educators, school personnel and child care workers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 24
North Carolina has administered more than 1 million first doses of vaccine
Today Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. outlined a timeline for Group 3 frontline workers becoming eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, beginning with anyone working in child care or in PreK – 12 schools on February 24.
“I am grateful to all of our educators and school personnel for going above and beyond in this pandemic to care for children and help them continue to learn,” said Governor Cooper. “Starting with a smaller number of Group 3 frontline essential workers helps providers streamline vaccine distribution effectively and efficiently.”
Because vaccine supply continues to be limited and the Group 3 population of frontline essential workers is so large, the state needs to move to the next group gradually. Those working in child care and schools, such as teachers, bus and van drivers, custodial and maintenance staff, and food service workers, will be eligible first. This includes staff in child care centers and homes, Head Start Programs, Preschool and PreK programs, traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail.)
States must vaccinate people in groups due to limited supply. North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents and people 65 and older. In the coming weeks, providers will continue to vaccinate these groups. More than 40 percent of North Carolina’s residents 65 and older have been vaccinated.
Under the timeline outlined today, the state plans to move to additional frontline workers on March 10th.
“Vaccine supply limitations continue to impact how fast we can get all North Carolinians vaccinated,” said Secretary Cohen. “Keep doing the 3Ws. Wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. And be sure to visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov for accurate information.”
NCDHHS is working with partners to develop operational guidance to support child care and school staff in accessing vaccines. However, current prevention measures will not change. Schools can and should be providing in-person instruction. Under robust safety measures, all students can be in classrooms, with middle and high school students also following six-feet social distancing protocols.
As of today, North Carolina has administered more than 1 million first doses of vaccine and more than 1.5 million total doses.
North Carolina is expected to received more doses of vaccine over the coming weeks heading into March. This increase and certainty of advance knowledge into the supply chain several weeks out has allowed the state to plan to open vaccinations to group 3. As state officials receive more supply information, additional operational guidance will continue to be provided.
Detailed information about each vaccine group is online at YourShotYourSpot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).
North Carolina Sees Dramatic Drop in Spread of Flu, Other Respiratory Illnesses Thanks to Preventative Practices to Slow Spread of COVID-19
North Carolinians have protected themselves and their loved ones from the flu along with COVID-19 by taking preventative measures such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from people who do not live with them, and frequently washing their hands or using hand sanitizer.
These preventative measures – known collectively as the 3Ws – have helped dramatically reduce the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses across the state, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Compared to past years, North Carolina has seen very low levels of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this year, according to data reported to the department by seven of the state’s largest healthcare systems. Similar trends are being seen nationally and globally.
Only four deaths from flu have been reported to NCDHHS so far this season, compared to 186 deaths last season and more than 200 deaths during the 2018-19 season. The data show these low levels of flu and RSV are occurring despite similar or higher levels of testing for both illnesses.
Additionally, NC Medicaid has seen a 98.2% reduction in expense claims for Tamiflu, a drug used to treat the flu.
COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu and other seasonal respiratory viruses, but mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing have been shown to help slow the spread of both illnesses.
“Altogether, this data tells us the preventative measures we’re taking are working," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. "Not only are the 3Ws having a big impact on the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses, this data shows us that the spread of COVID-19 would likely be much higher if we weren't taking these measures.”
Influenza can place a major strain on the healthcare system, causing between 9 million and 45 million illnesses and 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year. Reductions in flu and other respiratory viruses have opened up more capacity for hospitals to handle cases of COVID-19.
“Reducing hospitalizations because of flu and other respiratory illness has been critically important to helping NC’s hospitals manage surges in COVID-19 cases," Cohen said. "We must keep practicing preventative measures such as wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart and washing our hands so we can continue to help save lives."
Governor Cooper, State Education Leaders Say it's Time for In-Person Instruction in K-12 Schools Statewide
Research continues to show mitigation measures allow safe in-person learning, low transmission among students and teachers
Top state education leaders joined Governor Roy Cooper today to call on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students. The Governor joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.
“Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal,” said Governor Cooper. “We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity. The state’s public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.
Read the updated StrongSchools NC Public Health Toolkit.
“Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.”
Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease. Read more at What are We Learning.
“Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”
“We know that to equitably and fully address the needs of the whole child in every student, it is imperative that schools reopen for in-person instruction,” said State Board Chairman Eric Davis. “Since August, public school leaders have proven the merits of the safety protocols that have kept our schools safe for students and staff.”
The Governor and state health and education officials have made protecting the health and safety of students and educators the top priority since the beginning of the pandemic, moving to fully remote learning last Spring and giving local school districts the flexibility to gradually return to the classroom in September.
Today, Governor Cooper, Superintendent Truitt, Chair Davis and Secretary Cohen sent a letter to local school board members and superintendents encouraging in-person instruction across the state.
Read the letter state leaders sent to school board members and superintendents.
North Carolina has now administered more than 1 million COVID-19 doses across the state. Today, two new resources that will help provide North Carolinians with more information on vaccines were announced. First, the state’s call center has now expanded its operations and will be open seven days a week to help answer questions about vaccine eligibility, how the vaccines work and more. The number for the call center is: 888-675-4567. Additionally, NCDHHS launched an online search tool where users can enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers.
Blue Ridge Mountain EMC (BRMEMC) was recently awarded $1.3 million in funding through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant program as part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s $30 million initiative to expand internet access to rural areas. BRMEMC officially signed the grant agreement on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Funds from this grant will be used to expand BRMEMC’s fiber optic network in the Pine Log area of Clay County in North Carolina. This includes Pine Log Road, Pine Log Church Road, Greasy Creek Road, Trout Cove Road, Beach Cove Road, a portion of Old Hwy 64 and additional secondary roads within the surrounding area. At project completion approximately 600 residents will have access to BRMEMC’s fiber optic internet service.
According to the grant agreement this project must be completed within two years. BRMEMC will begin the planning and design of the project on Feb. 1 and the build out will begin a few months later. The project will be done in phases so that residents can sign up for service as portions of the project gets completed.
“We are very excited to be awarded funding through the GREAT Grant program to get broadband to an underserved area like Pine Log. This will help us to continue closing the gap in our fiber optic network and get folks in our service territory the reliable high-speed internet service they need,” said Manager of Broadband Services Alex King.
BRMEMC did apply for a large area in Cherokee County, North Carolina, but did not receive grant funding for that area.
In 2020, BRMEMC completed 18 broadband expansion projects throughout its service territory in Georgia and North Carolina; and now serves over 10,000 broadband customers. These expansions brought the Co-op’s fiber network to 1,600 miles of fiber lines.
For more on Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, visit brmemc.com or follow BRMEMC on social media.
About Blue Ridge Mountain EMC
Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation is a member-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Young Harris, Georgia, serving over 53,000 member-customers in Cherokee and Clay Counties in Western North Carolina, and Towns, Union and Fannin Counties in Northeast Georgia. Organized locally in 1937, BRMEMC has invested well over $270 million in physical infrastructure in its mission to provide reliable electric and broadband services to its members where those services would not otherwise have been available. Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
North Carolina Extends Modified Stay At Home Order as Numbers Begin to Stabilize in an Effort to Continue to Slow the Spread
Executive orders for “to-go” or delivery sales of mixed beverages and evictions moratorium also extended
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina’s Modified Stay At Home Order, requiring people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am, will be extended. Face covering requirements and restrictions on individuals gathering in both indoor and outdoor settings are still in place. Executive Order No. 189 will be in effect through at least Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
The extension of Executive Order No. 190 allowing for the sale of “to-go” or delivery of mixed beverages will continue to help businesses that are struggling right now. The extension of Executive Order No. 191 will help families have the ability to stay in their homes, a critical component of slowing the spread of the virus.
The Executive Orders for “to-go” or delivery sales of mixed beverages and the evictions moratorium both received concurrence from the Council of State.
“With more than 3,300 people in the hospital, and the percent of positive tests in double digits, we know this virus is still spreading,” said Governor Cooper. “And with at least one new contagious variant of COVID-19 in our state, we still have work to do. We cannot let our guard down, especially in these cold winter months.”
In addition to the Modified Stay at Home Order, the DHHS secretarial directive remains in effect. People should stay home and only leave for essential purposes such as buying food, accessing health care, and going to school or work.
“The 3 Ws are as essential as they have always been,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Remember people can have COVID-19 and not know it. The best way to protect those around you is to act as if you do have the virus and could be contagious. That means always wearing a mask – over your mouth and nose, always waiting apart from others, and always washing your hands frequently.”
North Carolina continues to administer Covid-19 vaccines across the state. As of today, 99.8% of all first doses received by the state were reported as being administered and 859,695 total doses have been administered. Vaccine supply continues to be very low and the state is hopeful for more vaccine to be on the way. On a call with Governor Cooper and other governors yesterday, the Biden Administration committed to increase vaccine shipments to the states by 16% over the next 3 weeks.
On Tuesday, NCDHHS expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide information about vaccine doses allocated to and received by the state and updated guidance to ensure equitable distribution and speed of administration.
North Carolinians can find out when they will be eligible to get their vaccine through a new online tool, Find My Vaccine Group. The screener walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they fall in. Learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine rollout at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.
On January 23, NCDHHS reported the first identified case of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 Variant in North Carolina. Early data suggest that this variant may be more contagious than other variants and state health officials continue to recommend staying at home when possible and practicing the 3 “W’s:” Wear a face covering, Wait 6 feet apart and Wash your hands.
Dr. Cohen provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
Read Executive Order No. 189 and the FAQs.
Read Executive Order No. 190 and the FAQs.
Read Executive Order No. 191 and the FAQs.
View the slides from today’s briefing.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services has been awarded the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 988 State Planning Grant through Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline). This grant, totaling $129,555, provides support to begin implementing the Lifeline’s new 988 number.
In July 2022, 988 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Congress recently established the 988 number as a simplified resource for individuals in crisis who need assistance. Anyone needing support should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until then.
“Crisis intervention and stabilization are critical for suicide prevention, particularly as many North Carolinians are feeling more isolated, overwhelmed and experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression due to the pandemic,” said Kody H. Kinsley, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and I/DD. “We are committed to partnering with the NC Suicide Prevention Call Center, state leaders and other key stakeholders to ensure North Carolina is prepared for the rollout of the national 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number next year.”
In 2019, more than 1,300 people died by suicide in North Carolina. While final data for 2020 is not yet available, more than 37,000 callers received crisis intervention and were connected to community mental health resources to prevent suicide deaths through North Carolina’s Call Center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This represents an 11.5% increase over 2019, with calls received from all of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
DMHDDSAS will work with National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network member REAL Crisis Intervention Inc. to develop clear roadmaps to address coordination, capacity, funding and communications surrounding the launch of 988. The grant will provide important support as the state anticipates volume growth once the new 988 number becomes operational. DMHDDSAS will collaborate with state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience and others to create a 988-implementation plan and support the Lifeline’s operational, clinical and performance standards that enables access to care.
For more information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 180 local crisis centers, uniting local resources with national best practices. Since its inception in 2005, the Lifeline has engaged in innovative public messaging, development of best practices in mental health, creative partnerships and more to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for all.
The Nantahala National Forest begins seasonal road closures on the Nantahala Ranger District. Closing roads to motorized vehicles seasonally helps reduce road maintenance costs. It also decreases wildlife disturbance so they can conserve energy while food is scarce. During long bouts of adverse weather, roads may be closed to protect public safety.
The following roads are temporarily closed until April 1, 2021:
Wayehutta Off-Highway Vehicle recreation area is closed for the season and will reopen on April 1, 2021.
On all Forest Service roads, emergency closures due to weather or resource conditions can occur at any time. For current road conditions and status, contact the Nantahala Ranger District at 828-524-6441 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Follow the National Forests in North Carolina on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nfsnc) or Twitter (twitter.com/NFsNCarolina) for more news and features.