Health

Curbside sign reads: Please remain in your vehicle, we will be right with you.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

North Carolina is still in the early phase of its COVID-19 outbreak. The statewide case count jumped over the weekend, from 888 last Friday to about 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday morning. 

Two boys reading on a couch with grandfather
Courtesy of Amy Scott

Homes across North Carolina are becoming workplaces, schools and daycares as families make plans to shelter in place for the next month.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen delivers a COVID-19 update.
NCDHHS

North Carolina health officials are imploring residents to follow the statewide stay-at-home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday. 

"I can't stress it enough. Your actions matter. Staying home matters. Staying home will save lives," said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Numbers

21 hours ago

On CNN over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci brought up some frightening numbers, including that the country can expect 100,000-200,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Proportionally, that would mean between 3,000-6,000 people would die in North Carolina.

But right now, the most important number here is hospitalizations. DHHS puts that number at 137 currently, and it's very likely to go up. Way up.

We talk with Rose Hoban, the editor and founder of North Carolina Health News, about what numbers to watch, as well as the potential for a "bomb of infection" waiting to go off in the state's prisons and jails.


Workers exit a large tent in front of the emergency room at EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, Washington.
Ted S. Warren / AP

The worst-case scenario for COVID-19 is that hospitals become overwhelmed with patients. If too many people become seriously ill too fast, there won't be enough ICU beds and ventilators for everyone who needs them, public health officials nationwide are warning, which could cause many more deaths from the virus.

Governor's Office / Twitter

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Friday that a statewide stay-at-home order will start next week, saying more movement restrictions are needed to blunt the new coronavirus and prevent hospitals from being overrun by cases.

We're Number One

Mar 27, 2020

The United States has overtaken China, Italy, and every other country in the world in the number of documented COVID-19 cases. It's a dubious and troubling honor, to be sure. And it caps a week unlike any before it, around the globe and here in North Carolina.

On a day when Governor Roy Cooper issues a statewide stay-at-home order, host Dave DeWitt speaks Rose Hoban, editor of North Carolina Health News, about how we will know when the curve is starting to flatten in the state.


Graphic of a bed.
WikiHow

A solid eight hours can be hard to come by in our non-stop, tech-saturated world. But the modern science of sleep shows that shut-eye is just as critical as diet and exercise in shaping both mental and physical health.

North Carolina's year-end testing is likely to be put on hold for this year, as students face at least nine weeks of learning from home to avoid the coronavirus.

The N95 mask made by 3M
3M

Duke Health is now using recycled N-95 masks in its three hospitals amid a critical shortage prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The masks are being decontaminated through a process that was already being used to clean other medical equipment.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

State health officials say North Carolina's hospitals are trying to manage bed capacity as states like New York and California see a surge of patients with COVID-19. 

State health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson said she's heard from about 75% of the 130 hospitals in North Carolina. Tilson says about half of their inpatient beds are available, and less than 20 percent of their Intensive Care Unit beds are open.

Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina's capital county on Thursday added another 1.1 million state residents to those now or soon under stay-at-home orders to dampen the coronavirus spread, which state officials say has contributed to another death.

Treatment

Mar 26, 2020

Today: Treatment.

Duke University Hospital has announced it is part of the first national study of a drug the World Health Organization has called "the only drug right now that we think may have real efficacy" to treat COVID-19.

That drug is Remdesivir. It was first developed at UNC-Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health.

WUNC reporter Jay Price speaks to Dr. Cameron Wolfe, associate professor of medicine at Duke University and the lead investigator in the new study, about the Remdesivir trial and its prospects for treating COVID-19.


Pixabay

While North Carolina politicians ponder their role in the pandemic response, healthcare workers know they will be the first responders no matter what. That is why hospitals are pleading that state and local governments order people to shelter-in-place. 

Home

Mar 25, 2020

Today: Home.

Earlier today, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel issued a stay-at-home order for his city. A flurry of other counties and cities have issued similar orders in the past 24 hours.

But areas of our state are not being affected by Covid-19 in equal amounts. More than three dozen counties have no reported cases at all. So should the same rules apply to all of them?

We talk about that and more with Rose Hoban, the editor of North Carolina Health News.


Ben McKeown / For WUNC

North Carolina reported its first two COVID-19 deaths Wednesday as local governments ordered their residents to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement saying the coronavirus-related deaths were a person from Cabarrus County and another person from Virginia who was traveling through the state. The Cabarrus County patient was over age 70 with underlying conditions, while the Virginia patient was over 60, according to the release, which did not include further details about them.

The COVID-19 triage tent next to the UNC Rex Hospital emergency department.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Hospitals across North Carolina don't have a large amount of excess capacity to handle what they expect will be an onslaught of COVID-19 patients in the coming few weeks.

Even as they postpone elective surgeries, set up outdoor triage tents, and ramp up staffing levels, there's a concern that coronavirus patients will overwhelm the health care system.

Extended social isolation. Layoffs. A run on firearms. These are knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also conditions that suicide experts say demand more preventative action for at-risk Americans.

Laura Pellicer / YouTube

 

Pollen: The scourge of spring. North Carolinians are all too familiar with the green and yellow stuff. Last year, olive green clouds of dense pollen hovered over Durham, N.C. making national headlines and making life miserable for seasonal allergy sufferers.

Decisions

Mar 23, 2020

Today: Decisions.

The number of personal decisions we are making every day has probably shrunk. We're driving less, not packing our kids' lunches, and eating out less. But the decisions we are making have likely taken on a whole lot more significance.

On this episode of Tested, we look at the current decisions being made by state leaders like Governor Roy Cooper and the past choices made by the General Assembly, and what impact those policies might be having on how the coronavirus pandemic is playing out in North Carolina.


Melissa Carrico

Nothing changes your life like the addition of a child. Suddenly, there are so many new things to consider for a tiny human whose brain works in really mysterious ways. 

Meet host Dave DeWitt on a quick guided tour of what to expect from WUNC's first-ever daily podcast.


N.C. Public Radio and N.C. Health News formed a partnership to provide updates on the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19 in North Carolina.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

As the number of coronavirus cases climbs, hospitals in North Carolina are preparing for the worst – and so are the doctors, nurses, and everyone else in the health care system.

WUNC's Dave DeWitt chats with Rose Hoban, founder of North Carolina Health News, about the strain being felt by hospitals and health care workers, as they prepare for a possible tsunami of COVID-19 patients.

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

Allen G. Breed / AP Photo

It's a confusing time for getting even the smallest tasks done. Grocery stores continue to be open in the Triangle. So, too, are pharmacies and many big box stores. But how do you navigate a trip through the aisles while observing social distancing and avoiding the spread of the coronavirus?

Jared Weber / Carolina Connection

How is the coronavirus pandemic changing your life? North Carolinians share their stories of how this outbreak is affecting all facets of their calendar day, from canceled weddings to closed businesses to concerns about elderly relatives and neighbors. 

Updated at 11:28 p.m. ET

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned a small group of well-connected constituents three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic and societal effects of the coronavirus, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR.

The remarks from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr were more stark than any he had delivered in more public forums.

On Feb. 27, when the United States had 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was tamping down fears and suggesting that the virus could be seasonal.

N.C. Public Radio and N.C. Health News formed a partnership to provide updates on the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19 in North Carolina.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

Coronavirus testing is ramping up in North Carolina and across the country. But it still lags behind almost every other developed country in the world.

Thousands of tests are still in the pipeline here in the state. That number will jump considerably, as local health departments, doctor offices, academic medical centers and others ramp up their own testing sites.

UNC Health set up a medical triage tent in front of its main hospital in Chapel Hill specifically for coronavirus patients.
Jay Price / WUNC

Hospital systems across the state have begun to postpone many elective surgeries to get ready for an expected wave of COVID-19 cases. 

Emergency treatment and surgeries won't be affected.

 January 19, 2020. Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Supplies are loaded into vehicles at a service delivery site.
Scott Dalton / American Red Cross

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to keep a safe social distance and to wash hands regularly. But, for many Americans already adhering to those recommendations, a feeling of helplessness can creep in.

Here are some other ways to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

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