Health

Confederate monuments, memorials, and names on buildings are coming down across the South. In the last month, many of the region's long standing symbols have been stripped, from the Mississippi state flag to a statue of Stonewall Jackson in Richmond, Virginia.

Host Leoneda Inge visits the city of Quincy, Florida, after officials swiftly removed their Confederate landmark, and she speaks with Mitch Colvin, mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina, about recent protests against the legacy of Confederate symbolism in his city. Leoneda also reflects on the significance of recent changes to capitalize “Black” in newsrooms.

Our thanks to WRAL for supplying some of this episode's audio.

 


study by Wake Forest Baptist Health has found that between 12-14% of people tested in North Carolina have antibodies for the coronavirus -- meaning they have been exposed to the virus -- with most of them showing little or no symptoms. 

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and the state’s Black and Latino populations are being hit the hardest. Black citizens comprise about 22% of the state’s population, but they account for a third of deaths. And nearly half of the people who have tested positive identify as Hispanic, even though the group makes up less than 10% of the state’s population. 

Chris Seward, File / AP Photo

  The U.S. Army has quarantined 90 soldiers and instructors in the Special Forces school who tested positive for the coronavirus during a survival course at Fort Bragg.

North Carolina residents have lived under various rules and policies throughout the gradual reopening, and last week Governor Roy Cooper added a new one to the list: a statewide mandate to wear face coverings.

Growing evidence shows that face masks can help reduce the spread of the virus. Yet some people, like President Donald Trump, are still reluctant to wear one.

Public Domain pxhere.com

All North Carolinians living and working in nursing homes will soon receive a one-time coronavirus test, the state announced Tuesday.

As Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations continue to endure a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related deaths, state and local health departments are working to increase access to testing and other health care services for communities of color.

Host Leoneda Inge travels to a free testing site in a predominantly Black community in Tallahassee, FL, and talks with Dr. Cardra Burns, senior deputy director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health, about our state’s efforts to bolster testing and break down systemic barriers to health care.

Cooper at a lecturn.
UNC-TV

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of reopening until at least July 17. Governor Roy Cooper also announced a mask requirement that goes into effect today at 5 p.m. 

Some doctors and nurses with the Air Force Reserves are warning the public not to underestimate the continued threat posed by the coronavirus. They were among thousands of military personnel who deployed to New York City during the height of its pandemic.

As COVID-19 Patients Increase, Hospitals Prepare For Surge

Jun 25, 2020
The COVID-19 triage tent next to the UNC Rex Hospital emergency department.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Leaders at health systems around the state say a combination of better medical care and larger stockpiles of protective gear mean they can handle surges in COVID-19 patients more effectively today than they could three months ago.

The transgender rights flag with a healthcare emblem.
GLAAD

Stigma, confusion and outright discrimination shape the health care experiences of many transgender and gender non-conforming people. In a national survey of transgender people in the U.S., 29% said health care providers had refused to see them because of their actual or perceived gender identity. 

On this edition of the Embodied series, host Anita Rao learns about the ways gender-affirming doctor’s visits, home life and classrooms can improve health outcomes for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. 

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina is not meeting the health trends required to move to the next phase of reopening, explained State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen in Wednesday's coronavirus briefing.

The state Department of Health and Human Services reports three clusters of COVID-19 at childcare centers across North Carolina. A “cluster” is defined as five or more cases, with links between cases, at a licensed or regulated childcare facility.

As state health officials try to mitigate these clusters, parents and childcare directors must grapple with what’s best for kids’ safety. About a third of all childcare centers in the state have remained closed since March, while advocates predict around a third of facilities could close permanently.

Pregnant woman.
Montse PB via flickr, Creative Commons

There’s an old wives’ tale about hurricanes having an effect on pregnant women that can cause a premature birth.

However, according to a recent study from East Carolina University, that claim is actually true.

As state officials continue to heed the call for social distancing and face coverings, researchers and health experts have been busy examining the trends and forecasting possible scenarios for the pandemic’s future.

We talk with Kim Powers, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about her work modeling the projection of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

Major the Bull wears a protective facemark in the downtown plaza in Durham, N.C. Friday, March 27, 2020.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Starting Friday, the city of Raleigh will be requiring face coverings in public. Durham and Orange counties have already implemented local requirements.

Dr. Abhi Mehrotra in the UNC Hospitals Emergency Department.
UNC Health

As North Carolina sees more and more people hospitalized due to COVID-19, doctors at Triangle hospitals express concern, but also confidence that the state's health care systems are better positioned to handle an influx of patients than they were three months ago.

NC Kept Moving Inmates During Pandemic. Experts Say That Increased Risks.

Jun 18, 2020
Inmates at Neuse Correctional Institution, in Goldsboro, move between buildings on Sunday.
Scott Sharpe / News and Observer

A day after North Carolina prison leaders reported their first case of COVID-19, about 200 inmates at Neuse Correctional Institution refused to go back to their dorms. 

In the prison's recreation yard on April 2, they staged a protest over new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the disease at the Goldsboro facility, where two inmates had already tested positive.

Some of the inmates, said state prisons commissioner Todd Ishee, threatened violence.

Senior Airman Ian Beckley

 
As businesses reopen and summer weather lures people into public spaces, health officials in North Carolina worry about the pandemic’s increasing toll on the population. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000 this week. 

There have been more than 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than a dozen outbreaks at state correctional facilities. Five inmates at state prisons and one person on prison staff have died from the virus.

State officials say they’ve been following CDC guidelines for testing and treatment, but some argue officials aren’t doing enough for inmates. On Monday, a state judge sided with civil rights groups, and ruled that state prisons must come up with a plan to test every inmate for COVID-19.

We hear from Elaine White about her experience being incarcerated during the pandemic, and why she is concerned for the health of people at correctional facilities. And we check in with WUNC data reporter Jason deBruyn about testing at state prisons.


Robert Willett / The News & Observer via AP

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's administration has ordered the closure of a small stock-car track that's allowed large crowds to gather repeatedly for weekend races, declaring it an “imminent hazard” for COVID-19's spread.

Since the start of Phase 2, some of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics haven’t been trending in the ways North Carolina’s leaders had hoped. On Tuesday the number of hospitalizations hit a new high, with the state Department of Health and Human Services reporting 774 people in the hospital with COVID-19. This peak comes after North Carolina also saw its single highest day of new cases reported over the weekend.

We talk with Dr. David Wohl, infectious disease physician at UNC School of Medicine, about the upticks in hospitalizations and what it means for the road ahead. We also hear about a memorial for George Floyd this past weekend in Raeford, North Carolina.
 


Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons, answers a question during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, Thursday, May 28, 2020.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

The email sent to staff at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury on Friday, June 5, had a sense of urgency.

"ALL HANDS ON DECK!" it began, in capital letters.

The demographic breakdown of COVID-19 cases remains a grim reminder of rampant racial health disparities in our nation. For black and Latinx communities especially, the consequences of longstanding gaps in healthcare have been intensified by the pandemic.

Hispanics account for 39% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but only comprise about 10% of the total population. But there are several barriers prohibiting Latinx folks from getting adequate testing and treatment during the pandemic. We talk with Eliazar Posada, community engagement and advocacy director for El Centro Hispano, and Paola Jaramillo, cofounder of Enlace Latino NC, about outreach within the Latinx community.


NC DHHS

Thirty-nine percent of the people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina are Hispanic. But Latinos only make up 9.6% of the total population. Health experts say the disproportionate rate is due to working and living conditions as well as access to culturally-appropriate health care and information. 
 

A child care subsidy for essential workers expires this weekend, but there's funding making its way through the General Assembly that could help.

The aid program was set up by the state health and human services department for workers like nurses and bus drivers after the governor issued his stay-at-home order.

Two heads of state clashed this week after President Trump put Governor Roy Cooper in the crosshairs of his active, and now partially fact-checked, Twitter account. Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if Cooper couldn’t guarantee full capacity for the event in August.

On Thursday, the Republican National Committee sent Cooper a set of guidelines on safety at the convention, but Cooper has asked for more details on the vague game plan.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly is already looking toward November and voters' safety at the polls. A bill is moving through the state legislature that would grant easier access to voting by mail in the upcoming elections.

We talk with WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs about the bill and how it might influence the way people in North Carolina vote this fall.


Workers cutting meat
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Meat processing facilities in North Carolina have seen coronavirus outbreaks among their workers, disrupting supply chains and causing concerns about meat shortages. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told a North Carolina news collaborative on Tuesday that there are 2,146 cases in 28 outbreaks at meat processing facilities. 

A pregnant woman holds a yellow face mask over her midsection.
Marco Verch/Creative Commons

Pregnancy and postpartum experiences can already be rife with anxiety. But since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, expectant and new mothers’ anxieties have heightened exponentially. 

Davis Turner / Novant Health via AP

  With a loud whir and a whoosh, a fixed-wing drone slingshots out of a medical warehouse, zips through hazy skies at 80 mph, pops open a belly hatch and drops a box of medical supplies. Slowed by a little parachute, the box drifts downward and lands with a plop, less than 8 minutes after launch.

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