Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 9/25/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.
North Carolina as a whole
North Carolina community-based organizations (CBOs) that are providing remote learning support for students while schools are in Plan B or C due to the Coronavirus pandemic are invited to apply for up to $100,000 in COVID-19 relief funds per remote learning site.
The application period opens at 9 am on September 28; applications are due by 5 pm on October 5. An informational webinar will be this week on Thursday, September 24, from 10-11 am. Complete details, webinar registration and application materials are posted at www.ncymcaalliance.org.
Governor Cooper signed HB 1105, Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0, into law on Sept. 4; in part, this allocates $19.85 million for CBOs across the state to apply for grants for federal COVID-relief funding. Per the legislation, the NC Alliance of YMCAs, with YMCA of the Triangle as its fiscal agent, is administering the grant program that enables NC YMCAs, YWCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, county and municipal parks and recreation departments, and qualifying CBOs in North Carolina to apply for funding.
“We’re so grateful to be serving families with remote learning support across North Carolina, alongside many other community organizations who also prioritize the safety and health of children,” said Sheree Thaxton Vodicka, CEO of the NC Alliance of YMCAs. “We are honored to serve community organizations by administering these funds in accordance with federal guidelines.”
Additional information is provided in a FAQ document at the Alliance website.
Some North Carolina small businesses that have experienced extraordinary disruption to their operations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may benefit from a $40 million relief program to help offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests and utility bills, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – powering our local communities and giving back in so many ways. They deserve our support, and this new initiative can help them weather this tough time,” said Governor Cooper.
The N.C. Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR), administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, can provide up to $20,000 in relief funds per qualifying business location. Business applicants from certain industry sectors that have not been able to operate during the COVID period may apply for up to two of their business locations.
Applicants can apply for up to four months of mortgage interest or rent expenses, and utility expenses. The help offers relief for some of the fixed costs a business cannot easily control on its own. Applications to the program should open next week and will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants must certify that they were closed during the period April 1 through July 31, 2020; they expect to be able to operate after the COVID crisis has passed; and they have not been reimbursed by any other federal source for the expenses for which they seek reimbursement through this program.
Eligible applicants include:
The Department of Commerce will begin accepting applications soon.
Governor Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also announced that effective October 2, large outdoor venues would be permitted to open at 7% capacity with key safety precautions in place. The announcement was made today so these locations could begin putting safety measures in place in order to operate.
Large entertainment venues are those that can seat over 10,000.
“We will continue analyzing our data and indicators as we determine how to move forward safely in other areas that may be included in the new order on October 2nd. In it, we hope to ease some other restrictions, while still keeping safety protocols like masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits in place,” said Governor Cooper.
”With more things open and people moving around more, we need everyone to stay vigilant about wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing their hands often,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our progress is fragile and will take our continued hard to work to protect it.”
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next week to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 2 at 5 pm.
The average number of daily hospitalizations associated with the illness within the Mission Health system has dropped into the 20s.
Spokeswoman Nancy Lindell said Sept. 24 there were 30 lab-confirmed positive inpatients in Mission Health hospitals: 27 at Mission Hospital in Asheville and three at Mission Hospital McDowell. Much of the previous week’s numbers were in the 20s.
In June, Mission’s daily coronavirus hospitalizations ranged from 15-20. They rose from counts in the 20s to the high 40s in July and hit a record of 49 cases on Aug. 3. But numbers stabilized in August and then declined.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC.’ The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS), alerts users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app completed Beta testing earlier this month and can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Here’s how SlowCOVIDNC will work:
NCDHHS is partnering with institutions of higher education, local businesses and influential North Carolinians to promote SlowCOVIDNC and educate the public about how widespread use of the app can slow the spread of COVID-19.