Health

Daniel Schludi / Unsplash / Creative Commons

North Carolina’s Health Director, Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, expects a limited supply of coronavirus vaccine will be available here by the end of the year. That assumes, of course, that the Food and Drug Administration approves its emergency use sometime in the next few weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel this Thanksgiving as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise nationwide. That means many of us are rethinking a holiday that is grounded in sharing platters of food with family and friends.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with chef Stephanie Tyson, co-owner of Sweet Potatoes restaurant in Winston-Salem, about making the most of a different holiday season while staying safe and healthy. Leoneda also talks with members of Tall Grass Food Box, a food service helping Black farmers across the state; and we hear about the efforts of Urban Ministries of Durham to balance safety with community care for people experiencing homelessness.

For chef Stephanie Tyson’s sweet potato cornbread recipe, check out Leoneda’s feature on Tyson’s restaurant from 2014.


Mack Brown UNC College Football
Robert Willett / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Nov. 16.

2:40 p.m. - A recent report from Visit Raleigh estimates Wake County's businesses and tourism industry will lose a minimum of $145 million due to COVID-19. Nearly 300 conventions, sports events and meeting have been canceled this year because of the pandemic. The lost revenue makes up about 5% of total money spent by visitors. - Naomi Prioleau, WUNC

Any other year, Americans would be gearing up for the big Thanksgiving travel weekend; traffic jams and long lines at the airport would just be a reality of life. But TSA is quiet at Raleigh Durham International Airport, where the pandemic has cut air travel by two-thirds. Tested host Leoneda Inge talks with passengers and an RDU spokesperson about the changed travel landscape.

Cannabis containers and advocacy materials reading 'No one should be in jail for weed.'
We Go High NC

Hemp — including smokable hemp — is legal in North Carolina. But that is only the case if the hemp does not contain more than trace amounts of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Hemp and marijuana can be similar in appearance. Both contain some level of THC, though hemp’s concentration is much lower.

La Secretaria del Departamento de Salud, Dra. Mandy Cohen y la Asesora de NCDHHS para hispanos / latinos al COVID-19, la Dra. Viviana Martínez-Bianchi, presentan una sesión informativa sobre COVID-19 a las 3 p.m.

 

Winter

Nov 17, 2020

The pandemic promises to claim many more lives as we head into winter. But, in one of our nation's most dismal times, we have elected a president who is poised to make science a factor in decision-making about this public health crisis. 

In this episode of Tested, host Dave DeWitt discusses the impact of that with Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals.

In a new county COVID alert system, the state distinguishes the counties with the highest levels of viral spread.
Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

Governor Roy Cooper is unveiling a new county-level alert system to highlight COVID-19 hotspots. Counties will be marked yellow, orange or red to indicate the severity of concern.

Will North Carolina Be Ready for Medicaid Transformation?

Nov 16, 2020
Daniel Sone / Unsplash Creative Commons

North Carolina’s 2.36 million Medicaid recipients are in for a big change next July. That’s when the state’s Medicaid system will be transformed into a managed care program run by private health care companies.

North Carolina is seeing record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations, and Black and Latinx people continue to make up a disproportionate share of them. Without a vaccine, public health experts say testing is a key tool for keeping COVID at bay, and strengthening access to testing in underserved communities remains a necessity. It's a compelling enough argument to convince host Leoneda Inge to get tested herself.

Leoneda talks with Deepak Kumar, director of NCCU’s Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, about improving health services for communities of color. And she speaks with Dr. Cardra Burns and Ben Money from the NC Department of Health and Human Services about the state’s recent testing efforts.
 


N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Tuesday that lowers the limit on indoor gatherings in North Carolina.

Robeson County has been frequently inundated by hurricanes and flooding. When COVID-19 hit that community, it hit it hard. As its residents navigated recent crises, they were also squarely situated on the presidential campaign trail this election season. President Donald Trump and Presidential-elect Joe Biden singled out the uniquely diverse rural county for political canvassing.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC's digital producer Laura Pellicer and data reporter Jason deBruyn about the pandemic, storm recovery, and why Robeson County increased its support for Trump this election.

We also highlight the significance of an annual Lumbee tradition, and how the tribe is adjusting amidst the pandemic.


N.C. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina will remain paused in its current reopening plan for an additional three weeks, with indoor gathering limits reduced from 25 people to 10 people starting on Friday.

In this Aug. 18, 2020 file photo, a student works outside Ehrighaus dormitory on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Oct. 26.

4:50 p.m. - Students in Cumberland County will return to in-person learning in January, given that COVID-19 metrics are trending in the right direction at that time. The Cumberland County Board of Education approved a plan today for students to return to classrooms on a staggered schedule starting January 7. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

You're not imagining it. Almost everyone is incredibly stressed out right now.

The American Psychological Association says the “2020 Presidential Election is a source of significant stress for more Americans than the 2016 Presidential race.” Not to mention COVID-19. And the economic downturn. And ongoing civil unrest.

Host Leoneda Inge examines our collective anxiety — what's causing it, how to recognize it, what to do about it — with Lynn Bufka, the APA's senior director of practice transformation and quality.

Then, Leoneda reconnects with an old friend, comedian Roy Wood Jr., who says it's never too soon to look for the humor in the heavy stuff, as long as you're making light of the right things. He's had plenty of practice as a political correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.


Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

An elderly North Carolina prison inmate with pre-existing conditions and a positive COVID-19 test has died, officials said.

A news release from the N.C. Department of Public Safety on Wednesday said the inmate, who was in his 80s, died at the Central Prison hospital on Tuesday.

A car decorated with pro-Trump stickers and decals makes its way through downtown Hillsborough Saturday as part of the "Trump Train" to show support for President Trump and other North Carolina Republicans on the ballot this November.
Mitchell Northam / WUNC

There doesn't appear to be a strong correlation in North Carolina between counties that voted for President Donald Trump, and counties with high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, according to a WUNC analysis.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

The United States hit a new record this week: more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day. The virus is surging around the country — including in North Carolina. The state broke its own record last week with 2,886 new infections in one day on Thursday, Oct. 29. 

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached staggering highs this week, the second week in a row of record-breaking growth. Hospitalizations rose quickly, too, approaching levels that will soon eclipse the spring and summer peaks.

On Wednesday, the country recorded more than 100,000 cases in a single day, a threshold Dr. Anthony Fauci warned lawmakers the U.S. could reach if the virus was not driven down before winter.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina’s coronavirus cases continue to climb, with the state hitting its second-highest new case count on Thursday.

Courtesy of KHX05

Does your sick leave policy include time off to care for roommates, best friends or chosen siblings? Over 60% of people under the age of 25 live in non-family households, and 28% of all adults live alone in the U.S. It is a distinct turn from historical numbers and the persistent, politicized ideal of the two-parent nuclear family. Workplaces and governments are beginning to broaden the definition of family to include non-biological relationships in their sick-leave protocol.

Seasons Change As Our Surge Remains

Nov 3, 2020

As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations trend upward in nearly every region of the country, health experts are sounding the alarm for a surge in the coming winter months. But some people on the frontlines say the surge in North Carolina is already here.

Guest host Charlie Shelton-Ormond talks with Dr. David Wohl, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UNC School of Medicine, about developments in COVID treatment, and why the coming months don’t look promising. We also preview WUNC’s coverage of the results from Election Day.
 


Drifters Western Bar And Grill is a no-nonsense diner in a red wooden building just past the sign that welcomes you to Emida, Idaho. Elk and deer mounts adorn the wall, and maple leaf flags remind you that you’re just three hours south of the Canadian border.

This is where Hank Thornton started his rounds on a recent warm September day. He’s partial to Drifters’ omelettes, but that’s not what brought him here.

“They’ve got a great breakfast here,” he said. “But no, it’s not just to get breakfast.”

Thousands of teachers in North Carolina are currently faced with a difficult choice: go back to teaching in-person class, or continue to teach virtually and minimize their risk of exposure to Covid. But, in truth, it's not even really their decision — at least, not entirely.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC Education Reporter Liz Schlemmer about the difficult situation for North Carolina teachers weighing their health, and the health of loved ones, with their job. 

We also hear from physicians at Duke University about ways to stay safe during the upcoming holiday season.
 


Kelli Kersey holds the ashes of father Darrell Kersey who died of complications from COVID-19 which he tested positive for while incarcerated in the Durham County jail, on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in High Point, N.C.
Casey Toth / News & Observer via NC Watchdog Reporting Network

Darrell Kersey’s family knew something was wrong.

When he called his wife from the Durham County Jail this past summer, he said he had a sore throat and headache, and that he had lost his appetite.

Greenville Covid
City of Greenville, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/3avgM3O

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Oct. 19.

7:35 a.m. – Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence – widely regarded as the best quarterback in the ACC and a top NFL Draft prospect – tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Thursday. According to CBS Sports, Lawrence tested positive on Wednesday. He will miss the Tigers’ game Saturday against Boston College, but he could be cleared for No. 1 Clemson’s bout with No. 4 Notre Dame on Nov. 7.

COVID coronavirus mask kids bikes police greenville
City of Greenville, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2RONEMk

A new analysis from data scientists modeling the impact of COVID-19 in North Carolina shows rural areas and the older population are now being hit harder by the coronavirus.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that the state will keep its reopening guidelines in place for three more weeks, at a time when key coronavirus metrics worsen.

Dr. Dave Hostler has seen his fair share of challenges in the medical field. As an Army pulmonary and critical care doctor, he has served in multiple intensive care units, was the brigade surgeon for the 82nd Airborne, and treated service members in combat zones overseas. But he says his recent work providing care to COVID patients at an overwhelmed civilian hospital in McAllen, TX was his most challenging experience.

Producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond talks with Dr. Hostler about treating patients in south Texas, and what he urges people to keep in mind about treatment and prevention as the pandemic continues. 

We also hear from Michelle Ries, interim director of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, about the state’s proposed plan for distributing a pending vaccine.
 


Coronavirus N.C. State prep mask
Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Oct. 12.

4:45 p.m. - NC State University will not have a spring break next semester after all. In a message Thursday, Chancellor Randy Woodson said the university reversed its original decision announced last month after talking to students, faculty and health experts. The university will instead have four wellness days spread throughout the spring semester. The university also decided to push back the start of the semester by a week. Classes will start on January 19. - Celeste Gracia, WUNC

Pages