NCDHHS Launches New Advertisement to Urge North Carolinians to Wear A Mask When With Close Friends and Family
As North Carolinians look towards the holidays and begin to plan celebratory gatherings, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services launches a new advertisement as part of the statewide "Whatever Your Reason" campaign. This newest television commercial reminds everyone the decision to wear a mask is not about “who you know, or how well you know them.”
The commercial urges everyone to ask themselves one simple question when deciding when to wear a mask: "Will I be with anyone I don’t live with?" affirming, "If the answer is yes, get behind the mask."
"As we head into cooler months, we do not want to see our case counts continue to rise," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. "The most effective thing we can all do to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to get behind the mask. Whenever North Carolinians are gathering with family or friends — or anyone they don’t live with — it's critical that everyone do their part and wear a mask."
This new advertisement will air statewide and compliment current radio announcements, online and social media advertisements and out-of-home advertisements at bus stops, convenience stores and gas stations. The "Whatever Your Reason" campaign was informed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and statewide online focus groups, which showed that North Carolinians have personal reasons for wearing a mask, including avoiding the spread of COVID-19 (77%), wanting to protect their community (72%) and families (71%) and feeling a sense of responsibility (72%).
In addition, NCDHHS has issued guidance for get-togethers to help organizers and attendees minimize the risk for COVID-19 transmission. Even in small groups of close friends or extended family, it is critical all North Carolinians wear a mask whenever they are in close contact with anyone outside their immediate household.
As options for outdoor gatherings are limited as the weather changes, it is more important than ever North Carolinians use the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus: wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often.
The “Whatever Your Reason” campaign works with North Carolina photographers to photograph real North Carolina people, places and lives, reflecting the strength and diversity of North Carolina. The campaign will run in Spanish and English language media.
To access campaign resources in English, visit: ncdhhs.gov/WhateverYourReason.
To access campaign resources in Spanish, visit: ncdhhs.gov/CualEsTuRazon.
COVID-19 and other safety concerns prompt adjustments
Andrews, North Carolina– The Magic on Main Electric Christmas Parade will go on this year, but not without some significant changes.
CHANGE ONE: The biggest change this year will be the disbursement of candy. Parade floats will not be throwing candy to parade goers in 2020. In lieu of candy throwing the Andrews Chamber of Commerce will be filling candy bags and passing those bags out to children before, during, and after the parade. The bags will be passed out by Parade Marshals patrolling Main Street.
The decision for this change was two-fold:
(1) Float drivers and parade management have noticed a trend toward children jumping into the street to get the best candies. This is unsafe for those children, and very stressful for float drivers and parade management; causing the entire parade to slow down and have gaps.
(2) COVID-19 uncertainties mean that candies thrown and then picked up from the ground are questionable. The Andrews Chamber will fill the bags with store-bought candies using gloves and masks. The bags will be handed out using a “touch-free” bag hook method.
CHANGE TWO: Main Street Downtown will close early at 3pm for Shop Where Your Heart Is, from Walnut Street to Cherry Street. November 28, 2020 is national Shop Local Saturday, and we have added this small event before the parade to give visitors a chance to shop for Christmas at our wonderful local businesses. Be sure to also grab some food & drink and pick a good spot that allows for social distancing from others during the parade.
CHANGE THREE: For safety, the Magic on Main Electric Christmas Parade will end at the Ingles parking lot this year. This will allow local folks who are headed to work or other activities easy access to get around town via Whitaker Lane.
It is important to remember that Main Street will have rolling closures from 5pm to 8pm from the intersection at Walgreen’s (Whitaker Lane) to the Entrance of Industrial Opportunities Inc. (IOI). Keep in mind that the closing of Main Street is not only for the safety of parade participants and parade watchers, but is essential for the safety of residents, as well.
Andrews Chamber of Commerce President, Gayle Horton says “The Chamber feels that with these changes, parade goers will be able to safely social distance themselves during the parade by keeping to their own groups. Having the candy bags for the kids will cut down on interaction with others. Parade participants are naturally social distanced by the layout of the parade. We are looking forward to the opportunity to provide some much-needed Holiday entertainment for everyone in the area.”
The November 28 event, presented by Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital and sponsored by the Andrews Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Andrews will kick-off at 3:00 pm downtown, and the parade will begin at 5:30 pm. The parade will be broadcast by Tim Radford and WKRK Radio on Facebook live for those who cannot attend the event in person. Co Hosting the broadcast will be David Brown of the Cherokee Scout.
Learn more about the parade, and fill out your entry form at www.visitandrewsnc.com/magic-on-main/
Young Harris College invites the community to attend a modified version of the College’s annual Fall Fest on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 5-7 p.m. The event is open to the public and promises to be a fun-filled experience for all ages. Families will drive slowly through a designated route on campus, while YHC faculty, staff and students give candy to each vehicle.
YHC’s campus is located at 1 College St., Young Harris, Georgia. Participants will enter at Mayor’s Park, turn right by Maxwell Center, drive past the YHC pillars on the plaza and exit between Goolsby Center and Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church. In order to participate, all occupants of vehicles must wear cloth face coverings, remain in their vehicles at all times, and stay on the designated route. Those trick-or-treating must have a bag to hang out of the vehicle window for collecting candy.
Carpooling is suggested since traffic will be increased. YHC encourages families to wear costumes and decorate their vehicles in a Halloween theme. There is no admission fee, but the College will be accepting donations of non-perishable items to benefit a local food pantry.
“Fall Fest has always been a wonderful and cherished time for the College and our surrounding communities,” said Director of Student Involvement and the Rollins Campus Center Eugene Burton. “The ongoing pandemic has not dulled our spirits but allowed us an opportunity to embrace the creative nature that exists within YHC. We are excited to host this reverse parade and celebrate the fall season with our community. Please remember to wear your mask!”
About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit yhc.edu.
James Melonas has been selected to become the next Forest Supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina.
The Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests make up the National Forests in North Carolina and encompass more than 1.25 million acres, with the supervisor's office located in Asheville, North Carolina.
"The National Forests in North Carolina are a truly special place and I am honored to have this opportunity to return to North Carolina and the Southern Region of the Forest Service," said Melonas. "I am excited to reconnect and meet with the incredible employees, partners, and volunteers in North Carolina as we work together to steward these wonderful forests."
Melonas has served as the Forest Supervisor for the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico since 2017. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Forest Supervisor in North Carolina. Melonas started his career with the Forest Service in 2005 as a presidential management fellow and has served in various staff and line officer positions at the district, region and national levels.
"The Southern Region is pleased have James return to North Carolina as its next Forest Supervisor," said Ken Arney, Regional Forester for the Southern Region. "James is a strong proponent of partnerships and collaboration in the stewardship of public lands and his experience in the Southwestern Region has prepared him well to work with a diverse set of stakeholders."
Melonas holds a Master of Public Affairs degree with an emphasis on environmental policy and natural resource management from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Before joining the Forest Service, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi.
Melonas will begin his role in Asheville on November 22, 2020. He is replacing Allen Nicholas who retired in September 2020.
Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Cardiopulmonary Department earns echocardiography reaccreditation by IAC
The cardiopulmonary department at Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) recently earned echocardiography reaccreditation in the area of adult transthoracic by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). EWCH has retained this accreditation since 2008.
EWCH’s cardiopulmonary department underwent an intensive application and review process and was found to be in compliance with the IAC published accreditation standards. According to IAC, this accreditation demonstrates EWCH’s “ongoing commitment to providing quality patient care in echocardiography.”
A transthoracic echocardiogram uses high frequency soundwaves to create a moving picture of the heart through the chest wall. Echocardiography is used to assess different areas of the heart and can detect signs of serious conditions like heart disease or potential causes of stroke.
“This is a seal of approval we’ve held since 2008 that tells our patients they can rely on us for consistent, quality care and dedication to continuous improvement,” said EWCH CEO Stephanie Boynton. “I’d like to congratulate the staff who worked hard to help us earn and maintain this accreditation. We’re extremely proud.”
The IAC is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits facilities that provide diagnostic imaging and intervention-based procedures with the goal to improve the quality of patient care provided in private offices, clinics and hospitals where such services are performed.
With North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends moving in the wrong direction, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Safety sent a letter to local leaders asking them to help slow the spread of the virus by promoting the 3 Ws and considering local actions to improve compliance with executive orders.
"The incredible work of our local partners has allowed North Carolina to avoid the first and second waves of rapid spikes in COVID-19 positives that devastated so many other states. To protect our communities, we must continue working together in this fight against COVID-19," wrote NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., and NCDPS Secretary Erik A. Hooks.
The letter was sent to county and municipal leaders in 36 counties that met the following metrics: the county has had 300 or more new cases in the last 14 days and has been identified by the White House Task Force as a county of concern; the rate of cases is greater than 50 cases per 10,000 people; or the county is one of the three most populous in the state.
In addition to sharing resources to encourage people to wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash hands, the letter outlined local actions to consider that have less severe penalties for violating COVID-19 executive orders than what is available through the state-level emergency powers. The penalty for violating the state-level executive order is limited to criminal citations, which could result in imprisonment. City and county governments can create ordinances that carry more flexible consequences such as civil fines. Examples of local actions include:
REAL 2.0 Remote Learning Conference to be held on October 28, 2020 online
All North Carolina teachers and parents are invited to attend a free virtual conference on October 28 to help them navigate technology and remote learning.
”Teachers, parents and students have adapted to new ways of learning throughout the pandemic, and I admire your resilience, creativity and dedication,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “Even as we work to get children back into the classroom safely our schools and families need support for remote learning and this conference is one way we’re providing that help.”
The REAL 2.0 (Remote Education & Learning) Conference will include sessions by experts in fields including education, mental health and technology. The conference is hosted by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), a business-led, education nonprofit housed in the Governor’s Office. It will build upon the initial REAL Conference attended by more than 1,300 educators in August to learn about best practices for remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Educators from across the state are serving as content advisers for REAL 2.0. Sessions for parents will be available in both English and Spanish, and all sessions will include closed captioning.
For educators, topics covered will include: navigating asynchronous learning; how to teach students effective study habits, time management and daily routines for virtual learning; tips and timesavers in Canvas; ideas for getting students motivated during virtual learning; Google Classroom and Google Meets tips and tricks; resources for struggling students; addressing the needs of exceptional learners in the regular classroom; video creating and editing tips; and much more. Exceptional student needs will be addressed throughout the sessions.
For parents, sessions will include: digital literacy; understanding Canvas and Google Classroom; how to support children with autism during remote learning; the college application and FAFSA process; fostering good mental health for parents and their children; and much more.
To attend the REAL 2.0 Conference, register at ncstudentconnect.com up until October 28. Recordings of the REAL 2.0 Conference will be available at the same link following the conference and educators can also view the recordings from the first REAL Conference at the same link.
REAL 2.0 is the second in a series of four virtual remote learning conferences that will be held through Governor Roy Cooper’s NC Student Connect initiative. The STEM Connect Conference will be held on November 17, 2020 for STEM educators to learn best practices for incorporating STEM into the virtual classroom, and the Cultural Arts LIVE Conference will be held on December 15-16, 2020 for arts and humanities educators and their classes.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the October 16, 2020 arrest of 39 year old Keith Ryan Noles of Morganton Georgia, and 42 year old Tina Faye Hill, of Marble North Carolina for violations of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act as well as various firearms violations.
On October 15, 2020 information was made known to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division that Keith Ryan Noles had outstanding warrants from Fannin County Georgia. Additionally, information was also made know that Noles was residing at the Marble North residence of Tina Fay Hill. Information was also provided that Noles was a convicted felon.
On October 16, 2020 Investigators executed a search warrant for Noles at Hill’s residence. Upon entrance to the residence a firearm was located in the residence. Investigators then placed Noles under arrest and secured the residence to obtain an additional search warrant.
On obtaining the second search warrant additional firearms were located and seized. Some of the firearms had been reported stolen. Additionally, a trafficking amount of methamphetamine, several Adderall tablets, marijuana and LSD were located along with over $6000.00 in U.S. currency.
Hill was charged with trafficking in Methamphetamine, PWIMSD Methamphetamine, Maintaining a dwelling for the use of a controlled substance, Possession of a stolen firearm, Possession of schedule II controlled substance, Felony possession of marijuana, Possession of drug paraphernalia, and Resisting a public officer. Hill was released upon posting a $100,000 secured bond.
Noles was charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine, PWIMSD Methamphetamine, Maintaining a dwelling for the use of a controlled substance, Possession of schedule II controlled substance, Felony possession of marijuana, Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Possession of drug paraphernalia, Fugitive from another state. Noles was released upon posting a $120,000 secured bond.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated “Good work by the Investigators. We are continuing in the investigation of the guns to determine their ownership as well as other leads obtained during this investigation.”
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at email@example.com.
North Carolina today submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. The goal of the plan is to immunize everyone who is eligible for and wants a COVID-19 vaccine.
"Leaders from across sectors came together under tight timelines to collaboratively develop a vaccine plan that leads with equity and prioritizes building trust. We will continue to update this plan as we learn more from the science and data on vaccines and in response to the needs of North Carolinians," said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
North Carolina’s vaccine plan reflects five principles that guide the planning for and distribution of one or more COVID-19 vaccines in the state. The principles include:
Currently, multiple vaccines are in development. For a vaccine to be authorized, studies must show it is safe and can prevent someone from catching COVID-19. Thousands of people have volunteered to be part of research trials across the United States and around the world to see if a vaccine is safe and prevents COVID-19 illness. Promising vaccines are being manufactured at the same time they are being tested, so there will be an initial supply when the science shows which vaccines are found to be safe and effective.
Once the Food and Drug Administration authorizes a vaccine, it will take time for manufacturers to ramp up production. Therefore, states will receive limited vaccine supplies at the start and will need to determine which populations receive the vaccine first. North Carolina’s prioritization framework was developed based on the National Academy of Medicine framework and in consultation with an external COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee convened by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.
"Our convening of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee informed the state’s plan with independent and diverse perspectives from experts and community leaders across our state. The committee was composed of a broad range of leaders, including from those populations most significantly affected by COVID-19, including racial and ethnicity groups, health care, public health and academia, who worked diligently over the past month in order to fully address equity, inequalities and health issues that are driving the pandemic and creating mistrust," Michelle Ries, Interim Director, North Carolina Institute of Medicine.
The NCIOM Vaccine Advisory Committee was co-chaired by:
"Old North State Medical Society is an established trusted health care entity in North Carolina. Since early 2020, Old North State Medical Society testing team has been focusing on efficient and effective ways of testing the vulnerable population for this aggressive and lethal COVID-19 virus, as well as promoting culturally sensitive education and messaging," said Charlene Green, MD, President, Old North State Medical Society. "Trust is the key to success. Old North State Medical Society strongly recommends the inclusion of established community leaders in supporting distribution of these new vaccines."
This is an interim plan and will continue to be revised based on further information and guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies, increasing data on safety and efficacy from vaccine trials, ongoing input from state and local partners and the Vaccine Advisory Committee, and refinements needed as the state progresses through the planning and operational stages.
North Carolina’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan builds on the foundation of the state’s overall goals and pillars of response to the pandemic: Prevention, Testing, Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine. North Carolina took early and aggressive action to slow the spread of the virus, built statewide capacity for testing, personal protective equipment supplies and contract tracing, developed hospital surge plans, and promoted aggressive prevention strategies.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the state’s highest one-day increase of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases to date with 2,684 new cases reported. The department is also reporting the second highest number of hospitalizations in the past 30 days, with 1,148 reported.
As the numbers continue to move in the wrong direction on this key metric, it is more important than ever that all North Carolinians use the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus: wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often. Masks have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially if worn correctly and collectively. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.
Anyone with symptoms or anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, should be tested for the virus. If you think you may need to be tested and would like to find a nearby testing place, go to Check My Symptoms, use Find My Testing Place or find a Community Testing Event in your area.
NCDHHS also encourages people download and use SlowCOVIDNC, the official exposure notification app for North Carolina. SlowCOVIDNC alerts users when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. The app relies on users to anonymously submit their positive result to notify others. The more people who download and use SlowCOVIDNC, the more we can slow the spread.
The department has issued guidance for fall-related events to help organizers and consumers minimize the risk for COVID-19 transmission. Even in small groups of close friends or extended family, it is critical that all North Carolinians wear a face covering whenever they are in close contact with anyone outside their immediate household.
To find out more about the response to COVID-19 in NC, visit nc.gov/covid19. Additional data is posted on the NC COVID-19 Dashboard at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.