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Local Health Departments to Receive Combined $1+ Million in COVID-19 Funding

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-Press Release, Office of Governor Roy Cooper

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is allocating $35 million in federal funding to local health departments to support the COVID-19 response. Per federal guidelines, counties will be able to use these funds to support COVID-19 staffing, infection controls, testing and tracing, IT infrastructure and data sharing and visualization.

“Our local health departments are critical partners with the state as we fight this virus, and this funding will help them continue and expand their important work,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our local health departments have been working around the clock to protect their communities and slow the spread of the virus. These funds continue to support their ability to address the overwhelming demands they are facing,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.

North Carolina’s local health departments are on the frontlines supporting people in getting tested for COVID-19 and knowing if they have been exposed. Testing and contact tracing are core public health activities and key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions while continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19. These responsibilities are in addition to their ongoing work to promote health and prevent disease.

Local health departments will receive a base allocation of $90,000 per county with additional funding based on population size and their cumulative positive COVID-19 caseload. Some local health departments represent multiple counties. CLICK HERE to see how much each health department will receive.

Local health district allocations include:

Granville-Vance (two counties) – $650,568

Franklin – $242,158

Warren – $149,803

This one-time, non-recurring funding is part of NCDHHS’ cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC), which awards annual funding to state, local and territorial health departments to support vector-borne disease surveillance and response. The coverage period runs from the beginning of the 2020 calendar year through the end of FY 2021-22.

Visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov to learn more about testing and contact tracing in North Carolina. For more information about the state’s response to COVID-19, go to nc.gov/covid19.

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health CEO Thanks Community, Encourages Continued Support

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Op-Ed: Thank You Vance and Franklin Counties – Bert Beard CEO, Maria Parham Health

For the past several months, Maria Parham Health (MPH) has been facing the impact of COVID-19 with our community. We have built upon our robust emergency operations plan that we have in place year-round by updating policies, implementing new protocol, educating our staff, and working with our community partners in ways we never have before. But in all this preparation, MPH has never been alone.

Today, I write to share my appreciation for our community. Thank you to the countless individuals and organizations who have generously donated critically important supplies and resources and offered inspiring words of encouragement to our team. In this crisis, the true meaning of community has never been more apparent or appreciated. Patients, board members, staff, community providers, our sister facilities – all segments of the communities we serve and partner with have shown their support during this pandemic

Community members have brought in surgical masks and N95 respirators to add to the resources we are working to preserve. Local restaurants and businesses have sent food to treat our folks as they work. Many people have donated homemade cloth masks to our hospital and local EMS – an incredible labor of love. Posted signage, sidewalk chalk messages and decorated rocks cheer on our heroes and have infused our campuses with pride. And these are just a few of the many examples that exist.

The outpouring of love and encouragement from our community has been overwhelming, and it makes us so proud to call Vance and Franklin Counties our home and to serve the northern triangle. MPH stands ready to serve you – our neighbors, family and friends. Please continue to keep our community safe and prevent further spread of this disease:

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • If you must go out in public, wear masks to protect those around you.

To learn more about Maria Parham Health’s COVID-19 preparedness and what you can do to help stay well, visit Mariaparham.com.

Franklin Co. Health Department to Offer Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Government

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be available at the Franklin County Health Department beginning Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Testing will be available on Tuesdays from 1 – 2 p.m. by appointment only. No walk-ins will be accepted.

Appointments will be available to patients without insurance first. If multiple people need testing, each person will need to schedule their own appointment time.

Non-insured patients will receive a free test sent to the State lab; insured patients will have their insurance billed.

Please bring your photo ID and insurance card, if applicable, and wear a face mask or covering to your appointment.

To make an appointment, call (919) 496-2533. The Franklin County Health Department is located at 107 Industrial Drive, Suite C in Louisburg, NC.

Maria Parham Health Celebrating National Hospital Week May 10-15

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-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health (MPH) is proud to join the American Hospital Association and healthcare organizations around the country in celebrating National Hospital Week, which is observed May 10-15.

Each May, National Hospital Week provides an opportunity to pause and honor the millions of healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to taking care of people in their greatest times of need and to recognize the positive difference hospitals and healthcare organizations make in the communities they serve.

“As our community continues the fight against COVID-19, the pivotal role our healthcare workers play in the well-being of society is clearer than ever,” said Bert Beard, CEO of Maria Parham Health. “Their tireless efforts on the front lines of this disease and their commitment to quality care and patient safety year-round are critical to our mission of Making Communities Healthier. We proudly honor these heroes during National Hospital Week and commend their inspiring efforts to serve others.”

Maria Parham Health in Henderson and Maria Parham Franklin will be marking the national observance with special gifts and prizes for all staff. Community members are encouraged to leave a special note of thanks for hospital employees at www.thankahealthcarehero.com.

As one of the region’s economic leaders, the organization employs approximately 800 staff and contributed more than $8 million in taxes to the local and state economies last year. Additionally, it is proud to sponsor a number of local community organizations and non-profits.

Ensuring that everyone has access to the high-quality and compassionate care they need is a top priority for the organization and fundamental to its mission. In 2019 alone, Maria Parham Health provided more than $62 million of charity and other uncompensated care, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

“We are privileged to have a significant impact on its health and economic well-being,” said James Johnson, chair of MPH’s board of trustees. “As we celebrate National Hospital Week amid unprecedented challenges this year and begin to look to the future, we are aware that healthcare – like other aspects of life – might look a little different. What will not change, though, is our mission and our commitment to this community. We will continue to put the health and well-being of our neighbors first, ensuring safe places of care and a healthier community for us all.”

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health to Resume Elective, Non-Urgent Surgeries & Procedures

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-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health announced today that it is taking the appropriate steps to safely resume some elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures that were previously rescheduled out of an abundance of caution amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The decision to reschedule procedures when clinically appropriate was made in accordance with federal and state guidance and aimed to help preserve critical resources in the event of a surge of COVID-19 patients in the community.

Today, current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources.

“Resuming these important services is an essential component of meeting our community’s health needs and advancing our mission of Making Communities Healthier,” said Bert Beard, Chief Executive Officer of Maria Parham Health. “As this work gradually gets underway in our hospital again, we remain committed to conserving critical supplies, being vigilant in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that our facility is a safe place for all patients, providers and employees.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Maria Parham Health has continued to carefully follow guidance from federal, state and local officials, monitor the prevalence of the virus in the community, and evaluate supplies and resources – including personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves and goggles.

The decisions about which procedures can safely move forward will be made only after assessing a comprehensive pre-operative checklist and evaluating potential risks. The hospital will initially focus on scheduling patients with more time-sensitive health needs, and those decisions will be made in partnership with the attending physician/surgeon/proceduralist. Patients who are scheduled and approved for procedures must meet specific requirements, including passing standard COVID-19 screenings.

Surgical patients also will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven days prior to their procedure to minimize potential exposure; check their temperature twice a day during this 7-day period and report temperatures over 100°F to their provider; and undergo testing for COVID-19.

Patients awaiting information about their previously postponed procedure can expect to hear from their provider or provider’s office to discuss rescheduling at the appropriate time.

Maria Parham Health will continue to screen and mask everyone who enters the facility and maintain a zero-visitor protocol for the foreseeable future. These important measures have had a positive impact on ensuring a safe environment, and they also are aligned with the federal government’s guidelines.

Additionally, the facility has implemented new processes and procedures to further protect the health of patients, providers and employees. Visit mariaparham.com to learn more.

As a reminder, if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, tell the dispatch agent if your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.

Franklin Co. Health Dept. Temporarily Closed; Six Employees Test COVID-19 Positive

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Government

As noted previously in prior communication, on Friday, 4/24/2020, the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD) received positive coronavirus testresults for two (2) employees. Those two (2) employees do not serve as healthcare providers within the department. Also as previously noted, on Friday 4/24/2020 a total of 48 Health Department staff had samples collected and submitted for coronavirus testing

As a precaution, the FCHD was disinfected on Saturday, 4/25/2020, and as of this current release, the Department is remaining closed for regular business from 4/27/2020 until operations resume on Monday 5/4/2020, at 8 a.m

The Health Department has received the results for all staff tested on Friday 4/24/2020, and those results indicate that an additional four (4) staff have tested positive, bringing the current total of Health Department Employees with positive test results to six (6). None of the Health Departments now six (6) total positive employees are healthcare providers

The Franklin County Health Department continues to conduct Contact Tracing for COVID-19, so any individual suspected of being exposed to the coronavirus will be notified by Health Department staff and given specific instructions on what they need to do next.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Health Department is adopting a stringent response to this current situation. As of the date and time of this release, the following Health Department programs will be closed from Monday 4/27/2020 until they reopen on Monday, 5/4/2020

  • All clinical services
  • Care Management Services (clients may call their workers for callback); and 
  • WIC (clients may call for assistance)

After consultations with NCDHHS, the Health Department has been approved to move forward with the following plan for our CLINICAL closures this week

  • Clinic patients provided with the option of receiving some mandated services at our neighboring counties’ Health Departments;
  • Patients given the option to receive services at other healthcare providers both inside and outside the county. Patients whose appointments were canceled are being notified and those appointments will be rescheduled.

Environmental Health Services (septic, wells, food & lodging inspections, etc.) and the Franklin County Home Health Agency services will continue to operate remotely (as they have been doing for some time). Limited dropoff service will be available for Environmental Health needs

For the week of 4/27/2020 through 5/1/2020, only critical Health Department employees with a negative test and no current symptoms (i.e. with no fever as verified by temperature checks threetimes per day) have returned to work to continue the Countys Emergency Operations Center and to complete contact investigations. The Health Department will resume all services on Monday, 5/4/2020

Look for more updates from the Franklin COVID19 EOC as more information becomes available.

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Two Franklin Co. Health Dept. Employees Test Positive for COVID-19

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Government

On Friday, 4/24/2020, the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD) received positive coronavirus test-result notifications on two (2) employees. The two (2) employees do not serve as healthcare providers within the department.

The first employee was last at work on Thursday, 4/09/2020 at 5 p.m., and first reported mild symptoms on Saturday, 4/11/2020. This employee has not been inside the FCHD since 4/9/2020.

As per the employee’s healthcare provider’s guidance, a coronavirus test sample was collected on Monday, 4/20/2020, but the results were “inconclusive.” A second sample was collected on Wednesday, 4/22/202, with positive test results being reported to the Health Department later in the morning on Friday, 4/24/2020. As noted above, this employee was last in the health department on 4/9/2020.

The second employee was tested on Wednesday, 4/22/2020, after reporting symptoms they initially thought were allergies. Following sample collection, the employee was sent home and given instructions to isolate. Their positive coronavirus test-results were received a little after 9 a.m. on Friday 4/24/2020.

Immediately after the Health Department received notification of the first positive test result, all non-health department staff were instructed to leave the department. All appointments were canceled, and a total of 48 Health Department staff were tested for coronavirus, with 42 employees being sent home with written instructions on isolation and symptom monitoring. The remaining seven (7) department staff canceled all appointments for Monday, 4/27/2020, and prepared the facility for disinfecting which occurred on Saturday, 4/25/2020.

Test results for all staff should be available by late Sunday (4/26/20) afternoon, or earlier Monday (4/27/2020) morning. Only staff who receive a negative test result are allowed to return to work.

As of the date and time of this release, all face-to-face: clinical services; care management services; and WIC are canceled for Monday, 4/27/2020. Patients will be able to speak by phone to staff in those programs on Monday, 4/27/2020 if needed.

Patients whose appointments were canceled have been notified and the department will contact you on rescheduling those appointments. The Health Department anticipates a resumption of these services on Tuesday, 4/28/2020.

Environmental Health Services (septic, wells, food & lodging inspections, etc.) and the Franklin County Home Health Agency services will continue to operate remotely (as they have been doing for some time). Limited drop-off service will be available for Environmental Health needs.

The Franklin County Health Department continues to conduct contact tracing for COVID-19, so any individual suspected of being exposed to the coronavirus will be notified by Health Department staff and given specific instructions on what they need to do next.

As noted above, only Health Department employees with a negative test result will return to work on Monday, 4/27/2020 or thereafter.

Look for more updates from the Franklin COVID-19 EOC as more information becomes available.

Maria Parham Health

Town Talk 04/14/20: MPH CEO Discusses COVID-19 Testing, Lower Hospital Volume

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

Bert Beard, CEO of Maria Parham Health (MPH), appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Beard reported that MPH has tested 150 people for possible COVID-19 infection at this point, with 14 positive cases. Of those positive cases, Beard said a “handful” have been admitted for treatment.

“Anyone who is a rule out is treated like someone who is positive for it until we get a negative test,” said Beard. “Our ability to test and get quick results has improved vastly since the start of this six weeks ago.”

According to Beard, a new partnership with Mako Medical Laboratories, along with recently approved testing, has reduced turnaround time for results from several days to approximately 24-hours.

While Beard said MPH and its staff are well-prepared to handle a possible increase in patients, the hospital is currently experiencing a lull in numbers. “We are seeing a lot less volume currently at the hospital. I think people are rightfully concerned and aren’t coming in if they don’t have to.”

With Granville Vance Public Health announcing the first COVID-19 death in Vance County – a 72-year-old male with pre-existing health conditions who died Sunday – Beard said he couldn’t stress enough the importance of continuing to take safety precautions.

“Continue to observe stay at home orders from the governor and the president. Continue to observe good infection prevention practices – handwashing hygiene, no touching your face and social distancing. Be mindful of your interactions when you have to go out.”

To do its part in mitigating the spread of the virus, Beard said the hospital enacted a zero visitor policy with a few exceptions: pediatrics, end-of-life care and mother/baby.

Visitors and MPH employees are also currently required to enter the hospital through either the main or emergency entrance, where their temperature is checked with an infrared thermometer. Visitors are also given a cloth mask – many donated by members of the community – to help stop the spread of infection.

“I am hopeful that on the back-end of this, people will have, not a new-found, but re-found respect for our first responders and frontline healthcare workers,” Beard said. “It is wonderful to see the outpouring of support and love for these people; I hope that element is held in the wake of this event.”

To hear the interview with Beard in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

Maria Parham Health Physician Practices Launch Telemedicine Services

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-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

Virtual visits connect patients and providers beyond the clinic setting. Maria Parham Health Physician Practices announced today that it has added telemedicine to its offerings. The announcement comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s unprecedented expansion of telehealth services.

“We are pleased to offer convenient telemedicine solutions to help connect patients and providers and ensure the continued delivery of high-quality care,” shared Iris Berry, Director of Physician Practices at Maria Parham Health. “As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, telehealth capabilities enable our clinical team to practice social distancing to further reduce the spread of illness while still meeting our patients’ health needs. We look forward to the many ways this new offering will further advance our mission of Making Communities Healthier.”

For patients who meet certain clinical criteria, Maria Parham Health Physician Practices are offering two types of telehealth visits: telephonic and televideo. A telephonic visit is simply a patient phone call with a provider, and a televideo visit is a virtual, face-to-face visit with a provider using a video conferencing service. Virtual visits may not be available in all cases and will be evaluated based on a patient’s specific clinical needs.

Patients can request a telehealth visit by calling their provider’s office, just as they would for an in-person visit. The provider will determine if a telehealth visit is appropriate based on the patient’s health condition. If the virtual visit is deemed clinically appropriate, the patient will be given an appointment time and instructions for the best way to connect given the available platforms. Then, instead of coming to the office, he or she would call back at the scheduled time and be “checked in” by a nurse or office manager, and then transferred to the provider for the call or two-way video.

A few restrictions on telephonic visits may apply, including that they cannot be utilized to treat patients for a condition that the patient has been seen for in the previous seven days, and they cannot be used to treat a condition that the patient is already coming in for within the next 24 hours.

Patients who are concerned they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to consider telemedicine appointments to help further reduce the spread of respiratory illness. Leveraging telemedicine also conserves personal protective equipment (PPE) and other clinical resources that are needed when treating a patient with suspected COVID-19 in the clinic or hospital setting.

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham CEO Asks Community to ‘Thank a Healthcare Hero’

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-By Bert Beard, Chief Executive Officer of Maria Parham Health  

As we continue to fight COVID-19, it has been so encouraging to see the outpouring of support from our community for Maria Parham Health. We have always striven to be a place where you choose to come for healthcare, and we take our responsibility as a community leader very seriously.

As our neighbors have come together to do everything possible to slow the spread of this vicious virus amid unprecedented challenges, we have never been more proud to be a part of this community. It is more important than ever that we all continue to take the important steps necessary to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible, including staying home as much as we can, practicing social distancing and following sound medical guidance.

Today, I would ask one more thing of our community, including myself: thank a healthcare hero.

Some moments ask more of us as a society, as a community and as individuals. Moments like those need heroes. From grocery store employees and delivery workers to educators teaching remotely and those keeping our infrastructure and essential services running, this current moment has no shortage of heroes. And that includes our heroes on the frontlines of this crisis – our healthcare workers.

Our healthcare workers are not only a cornerstone of our hospital’s mission of Making Communities Healthier, they are integral members of our community. They are moms and dads. Brothers and sisters. Friends and neighbors. And – today especially – they are heroes, fighting on the frontlines to provide compassionate, quality care when it’s needed most.

At Maria Parham Health, we honor all our providers and employees working hard to ensure a safe place of care and a healthier community for all of us. I hope you will join me and add your voice to the chorus of appreciation for our community’s healthcare heroes by posting your own message of thanks on your favorite social media, with the hashtag #ThankAHealthCareHero.

Let’s show our hometown heroes how much we appreciate their incredible and inspiring efforts to keep us safe.

And thank you again for supporting Maria Parham Health and trusting us with your care as we help guide our community through the COVID-19 situation as safely as possible. We will get through this together.