297 Cases, State Seeks Health Care Volunteers

This article originally appeared on the Charlotte Patch

NORTH CAROLINA — As North Carolina continues to brace for the surge in cases of the new coronavirus throughout the state, state public health officials are asking residents to consider volunteering as health care workers.

There were 297 presumptive positive cases of the COVID-19 virus reported in 45 counties in North Carolina, NC Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday morning.

That figure reflects the findings of 8,438 tests that had been completed by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospital and commercial laboratories. No deaths have been reported in the state.

The NC DHHS’ Monday morning tally indicated that 79 of the cases were in Mecklenburg County; but by midday, Mecklenburg County health officials said the number of presumptive positive cases had grown to 97.

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“We are facing an unprecedented crisis from COVID-19 that has already had devastating consequences internationally,” NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said in an open letter to residents. “With the virus now spreading in North Carolina, we need to bolster our health care system to ensure we can care for those impacted by the virus. A crucial part of that effort is recruiting volunteers to supplement our health care workforce. We are asking for your help to meet these needs.”

The state is seeking volunteers in the following areas:

  • Clinical, such as physicians, advanced care providers, nurses and EMS.

  • Clinical support, such as pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care.

  • Non-clinical support, such as facility management, safety and administrative.

  • To provide medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment.

Anyone able to volunteer is asked to register through the NC Training, Exercise, and Response Management System (NC TERMS), which may be found here.

On Saturday, Gov. Roy Cooper waived restrictions to increase access to caregivers to provide flexible child care and elder care during the coronavirus emergency. The order provides flexibility to local health departments working to adapt to the increased need for their resources.
Additionally, it provides for ways for Division of Motor Vehicles offices to enact social distancing protections, and waives some registration requirements to ensure resources can be delivered by truck throughout the state.

“Doctors, nurses, first responders and other critical personnel need to know their children are safe, so they can continue to respond during this time of crisis,” Cooper said. “And we’re loosening trucking requirements so important medicine and equipment can get quickly to the people in all 100 counties that need it.”

The order provides for the following provisions:

  • Improves access to safe, flexible child care for first responders, emergency personnel, food preparers and others.

  • Transfers authority to local health departments to be more flexible with mandates during the crisis, so they can prioritize the most-needed services.

  • Lifts some restrictions so volunteers and other caregivers may care for children and elders during the crisis.

The transportation waiver includes provisions to:

  • Allow DMV offices to ensure appropriate social distancing including requiring appointments and making sure offices have enough space for DMV customers.

  • Postpone DMV hearings that can reasonably be delayed during the crisis response.

  • Offer clarity around regulations so critical supplies can get where they are needed throughout the state.

  • Waive Commercial Driver’s License requirements to ensure school buses can be used in responding to the crisis.

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus In Iredell: Now At Least 6 Cases In County

Here’s a rundown of where COVID-19 has been reported in North Carolina as of Monday, according to NC DHHS:

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