CMH Covid funding

Charles A. Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville is one of the 19 rural hospitals in North Carolina eligible for up to $258,376 in federal funding to increase COVID-19 testing efforts, expand access to testing in rural communities and expand the range of COVID-19 mitigation activities to meet community needs.

RALEIGH — North Carolina received more than $4.9 million federal funds for small rural hospitals in the state to provide COVID-19 testing and mitigation, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on July 30. The program will provide increased COVID-19 testing to rural populations ensuring an equitable distribution across the state.

Nineteen hospitals will receive up to $258,376 to increase COVID-19 testing efforts, expand access to testing in rural communities and expand the range of COVID-19 mitigation activities to meet community needs. All 19 hospitals have fewer than 50 beds or are critical access hospitals.

“This funding is key in providing an equitable response to COVID-19 in our rural communities. Rural hospitals are well-positioned as trusted health care providers in their communities to encourage COVID-19 vaccination and testing, especially in places where many people feel uncertain about getting vaccinated,” said Maggie Sauer, Director of the Office of Rural Health at NCDHHS.

In many small rural hospitals, COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and treatment add an additional workload for already limited staff and resources. Targeted support is necessary for rural communities to overcome barriers toward achieving and maintaining high COVID-19 testing rates.

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some rural residents at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or having severe illness. This includes the 10 million rural residents who identify as Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander or mixed race. One in five rural residents belongs to one or more of these groups.

Funding came from the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program through the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funded activities include COVID-19 testing education, establishing easily accessible testing sites, test result processing and implementing activities within CDC Community Mitigation Framework to address COVID-19 in rural communities.

The 19 hospitals receiving these funds are Alleghany Health, Ashe Memorial Hospital Inc. in Jefferson, Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville, DLP Person Memorial Hospital, Granville Health System, Martin General Hospital, Pender Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, The Outer Banks Hospital, Vidant Bertie Hospital, Vidant Chowan Hospital, Washington Regional Medical Center, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, Swain Community Hospital, Cape Fear Hoke, Cape Fear Bladen, FirstHealth Montgomery, J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital and Wilkes Medical Center.

Since May, more than 92% of new cases in North Carolina have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated. Vaccines are proven to be effective against COVID-19 and its variants.

Area, state vaccination totals

Statewide, approximately 50 percent of the total population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with 47 percent of the total population having been fully vaccinated, according to statistics from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as of Monday, Aug. 2.

The organization reports that more than 9.83 million total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state as of August 2, noting that of individuals 65 years of age and older, 87 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 84 percent have received their full allotment. Of individuals 12 and older, 59 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with 55 percent being completely vaccinated.

Locally, NCDHHS data indicates that Avery County has administered a total of 8,228 first doses of vaccine, or 47 percent of Avery County residents who have received their first-dose vaccine as of August 2, an increase of 47 vaccines over the past week, with 44 percent of the overall county population, or 7,653 individuals, having received a second-dose vaccination.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on July 22 updated its COVID-19 County Alert System. According to the report, viral spread is increasing rapidly. with the report indicating one red county, 12 orange counties, 41 yellow counties, 41 light yellow counties, and five green counties. In comparison, the previous report posted July 8 showed one red county, one orange county, 29 yellow counties, 50 light yellow counties, and 19 green counties.

According to NCDHHS, to slow the spread of the virus, people should get vaccinated and continue adherence to the 3Ws until most people have a chance to get vaccinated. Regardless of what tier a person’s county is currently in, individuals, businesses, community organizations and public officials all have a responsibility to take these recommended actions and others outline in the County Alert System, NCDHHS states.

The COVID-19 County Alert System gives individuals, businesses and community organizations, and public officials a tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to take slow the spread of the virus. The level of risk and its color classification is determined by multiple factors, including new cases in the county per 100,000 residents over the previous 14-day period, the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, and the hospital impact within each county.

Click to for more information on vaccines and vaccine distribution statewide, and to learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine rollout, click to

Latest local, state and national COVID-19 statistics

As of Monday, Aug. 2, according to available dashboard data from the NCDHHS, the total number of coronavirus cases have risen by approximately 20,000 cases statewide over the past seven days, with a total of 1,056,699 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

NCDHHS reports that 13,670 people have passed away in connection with COVID-19 since March 2020, an increase of 90 individuals over the past seven-day period.

NCDHHS reported on August 2 that Avery County has 2,196 total positive community cases. The department reports Avery with 21 deaths associated with the virus.

According to NCDHHS Dashboard data on August 2, Avery reports 14 cases per 10,000 residents over the previous 14-day period, In comparison, Mitchell County reports seven cases per 10,000 residents, while Yancey County reports 53 cases per 10,000 residents. Watauga County reports nine cases per 10,000 residents, while Ashe County reports 27 cases per 10,000 residents during the same 14-day period.

“Public health staff is working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to contain the spread of disease,” TRHD reported. “The Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County health departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.”

According to latest NCDHHS Dashboard data on August 2, Mitchell County reported a total of 1,487 positive cases and 16 deaths. NCDHHS reports Yancey County with 1,736 total cases as of August 2 with 28 deaths.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports more than 198.7 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with the U.S. totaling 35.07 million cases in the nation as of August 2. Johns Hopkins reports that the United States has experienced 613,493 deaths related to COVID-19 as of August 2.

The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs report more than 14.47 million completed tests as of Monday, Aug. 2, according to NCDHHS.

The estimate of people presumed to have recovered from the virus as of August 2 is more than 1,012,724 statewide, with the estimate provided each Monday afternoon by NCDHHS. NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.

In neighboring counties, Watauga County reports 4,850 positive tests, with 30 active cases and 32 deaths among residents, while Ashe County reports 2,363 positive cases, with 36 active cases and 47 deaths as of August 2, according to AppHealthCare data.

Caldwell County reports 9,758 positive tests as of August 2 with 111 deaths, while Wilkes County has 7,258 reported cases and 117 deaths, according to NCDHHS Dashboard data.

NCDHHS reports McDowell County with 5,430 cases and 63 deaths. Burke County reports 10,502 cases and 164 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.

In Tennessee, Johnson County reports 2,503 cases with 39 deaths, while Carter County reports 6,931 cases and 163 deaths as of August 2, according to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health.

Statewide, the top four counties reporting total positive cases are Mecklenburg County (120,200), Wake County (93,608), Guilford County (50,152) and Forsyth County (38,131), the sum of which comprises 28.5 percent of all confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, according to August 2 NCDHHS statistics.

The reported testing numbers could be incomplete due to differences in reporting from health departments and other agencies. Sources include Toe River Health District, AppHealthCare, NCDHHS, Caldwell County Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health.

Updated news and information on the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response can be found by clicking to

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