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COVID-19 COMMUNITY UPDATE

Upcoming events online for Wilson residents on COVID-19

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News involving COVID-19 and its spread continues to pour in, but our office wants to give you the most up-to-date information that we can possibly give you. As of May 21, there were 20,910 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, including 264 confirmed cases in Wilson County.

Thanks so much for joining us last week for the first Wilson COVID-19 Forum! We want to thank our panelists for joining us that evening:

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield

Teresa Ellen, Wilson County Health Director

Sen. Toby Fitch, North Carolina General Assembly

Capt. Winston Harris, Wilson Police Department

Glenn Osborne, Director, Wilson County Department of Social Services

Dr. Laura Owens, CEO, Carolina Family Health Centers

Denise Stinagle, Wilson County Manager

Thomas Stith, District Manager, Small Business Administration

Their tireless work has brought some sense of order and normalcy during this time of intense confusion.

For a county-by-county look at how the virus is spreading, click the button below to access the information provided by N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard

UPCOMING EVENTS

We have two upcoming events that are tailored to answering questions and keeping the people of Wilson fully engaged with what’s happening in our world.

On June 18, we will have our first-ever Digital Legislative Advisory Board meeting. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed calendars back for everyone, but we want to keep you engaged in our legislative process. We will focus on what your priorities will be for the short session, and what we can focus on for the 2021 legislative session.

On June 25, we will have our second Wilson COVID-19 Forum. We will have more info and perspectives from different leaders in our community and the state.

We will be sending out special emails related to both of these events, so pay special attention to your inboxes!

PHASE 2 TO BEGIN

Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22, North Carolina will be entering Phase 2 of its reopening. While there are fewer restrictions now than previously in Phase 1, I strongly encourage everyone to continue to use caution when going out in public. Wear your mask, wash your hands often (at least 20 seconds), and social distance yourself!

INFORMATION ON UNEMPLOYMENT

As North Carolina enters Phase 2 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions, more businesses will be reopening, and more people will be returning to work.

The Division of Employment Security (DES) is providing the following information for individuals and employers about how returning to work may impact unemployment benefits.

Refusing to return to work when your employer calls you back typically makes you ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. When you return to work, you should stop filing your Weekly Certifications for unemployment.

DES will consider that you have good cause to refuse to return to work, and may continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits, if you refuse due to one of these COVID-19 related reasons:

• You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and have been advised by a medical professional to not attend work.

• A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

• You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a high-risk individual as a person 65 years of age or older or a person of any age who has serious underlying medical conditions, including being immunocompromised or has chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis or liver disease.

• You are the primary caregiver of a child or person in your household who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the school or facility is required for you to work.

• You are unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency or you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

In order to comply with any governmental order regarding travel, business operations and mass gatherings, you must refuse a recall to your former employment or an offer of suitable work.

You reasonably believe there is a valid degree of risk to your health and safety due to a significant risk of exposure or infection to COVID-19 at your employer’s place of business due to a failure of the employer to comply with guidelines as set out by the CDC, other governmental authorities or industry groups as may be found in CDC guidance, the Governor’s Executive Orders, or other binding authority; or due to objective reasons that the employer’s facility is not safe for the claimant to return to work.

Please go here for any more Frequently Asked Questions

FREE INTERNET THROUGH NAACP

The NAACP of Wilson, in partnership with Greenlight, is offering to pay for up to three months of internet services for students impacted by the pandemic. Students must be in grades 2-12 in a public Wilson County school.

The household’s address is to be sent to Greenlight via email, at the drive thru, or by U.S. mail with the child’s school name, address and a notation that funds are from the NAACP account. Further questions may be sent to Dr. Carol White at Edchair2018@gmail.com.

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH IN NC

Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in North Carolina. Nationally this month is used to reduce the stigma regarding mental health and encourage individuals to seek the medical help they may need.

One in five adults struggle with mental health challenges in a given year, and during this month people are encouraged to hold open conversations that support and respect individuals living with mental illness. The majority of individuals with mental illness do not receive the treatment they need.

During the COVID-19 pandemic it is important that all North Carolinians pay attention to their physical and mental well-being. While activities many perform as part of their daily lives have been limited, people are encouraged to practice safe, socially distant outdoor exercise and meditation. There are also newly expanded opportunities to safely receive mental health services through telehealth during the course of the pandemic.

North Carolinians can call Hope4NC at 1-855-587-3463 for mental health support.

HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS

If you have recently lost or can no longer afford your health insurance, or even if you are trying to purchase health insurance for the first time, you have options to make sure that you and your family have access to care. 

NCDHHS has created a one-page document to help you understand what health insurance options may be available to you right now: You Have Health Insurance Options.

CALL 211 FOR COVID-19 HELP

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community. NC 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and resources are available in most languages.

North Carolinians can text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19. Sign up now to get regular alerts on the rapidly evolving situation and North Carolina’s response.

THANK YOU TO ESSENTIAL WORKERS

While many North Carolinians are staying at home and focusing on keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy, many people in our state and community are working hard outside of their homes.

Our Wilson community’s “essential” employees, which include healthcare workers, childcare providers, educators, delivery workers, food service and grocery store employees, city/county employees and countless volunteers are making personal sacrifices for our community. They are going out into the world so that others can “stay at home.”

I’m encouraged by the stories of community members helping vulnerable neighbors, giving blood, donating to local charitable organizations, working with our children remotely and making sure they’re fed and supporting local restaurants by ordering takeout and delivery. No amount of support is too small and each one makes a difference. When we look out for each other, we make our city and county a stronger and more successful place to live. You’re literally saving lives and your hard work and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

“We are all in this together.”

Thanks for everything you do!

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