Week of April 27, 2020
Keeping You Informed
Robert Hiett
Executive Director
NCDHHS Announces
Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative 


RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announces today the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, a new partnership with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 
This new initiative builds on the long-standing relationship NCDHHS has with both organizations. The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative is part of Governor Roy Cooper’s initiative to slowly lift restrictions by focusing on testing, tracing and trends. This collaborative will build upon existing local health department tracing efforts to help meet the surge in demand for contact tracing staff expected as COVID-19 testing increases. 
The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) published a guide that will help communities become stronger and better equipped to withstand the impacts of future natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires, as well as the ongoing effects of climate change. Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities is the first part of an ongoing effort by NCORR’s team of experts to define what it means to plan for and build resilience in communities while integrating those measures into the work local governments do every day.
“While we work to defeat COVID-19, we must also remain vigilant in planning and preparing for future natural disasters,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This guide is a valuable tool that will help local governments build strong plans to increase resilience against future storms.”
The newly released guide provides information for local governments on how to begin planning for natural disasters and changing conditions, including climate change, by incorporating the concepts of resilience into the work they already do. On a daily basis, local governments decide what projects to build, what plans to prioritize and how to spend funding. Incorporating resilience-building principles into these activities will help North Carolina better prepare for hurricanes and other disasters. The guide is available for review and download on NCORR’s ReBuild NC website. 
“North Carolina communities want to become more resilient, but many aren’t sure how to begin,” said NCORR Chief Resilience Officer Jessica Whitehead. “This guide will help communities get started and set them up for future success.”
Governor Cooper established NCORR in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence to streamline disaster recovery programs statewide and help communities rebuild smarter and stronger. In addition to its work building resilience, the office administers programs that support homeowner recovery, affordable housing, mitigation, buyout and local government grants and loans. Learn more about NCORR’s programs at https://www.rebuild.nc.gov/ . To date, North Carolina has spent more than $3.5 billion in state and federal funding to help storm survivors recover from hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

The NC Division of Emergency Management and the UNC School of Government have partnered to produce a tutorial series on the FEMA Public Assistance Program and FEMA reimbursement for the COVID-19 event (FEMA 4487-NC). The NCEM Public Assistance Tutorial Series provides helpful information on the FEMA reimbursement process and will be expanded on an ongoing basis as local governments and eligible nonprofits move through their recovery from the pandemic.The NCEM PA Tutorial Series is available at this link , and is also available the School of Government COVID-19 Emergency Management website. 
10 Tips for Making Sense of COVID-19 Models for Decision-Making

At a time when it can seem like our lives and livelihoods are somehow tied to what gets spit out of these COVID-19 models, it is a good time to learn a bit about what the models are made up of, and what they can—and can’t—do. Check out these 10 tips for making sense of COVID-19 models for decision-making such as directing health care resources to certain areas or identifying how long social distancing policies may need to be in effect.
Stay Informed with FEMA's Rumor Control Page

As FEMA takes a leading role in the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 2019) response be sure to visit: FEMA Rumor Control Page  FEMA Rumor Control  for the latest news to keep you informed.

In addition to information on www.FEMA.gov there are other resources available on  Ready.gov related to staying safe and healthy.
Forward Together: A Virtual Conference

Let's prepare for the future of local government, in a post-COVID world. Join Polco / National Research Center along with ICMA, NLC, ELGL and others for the virtual conference of the season. Discover and discuss essentials of good government now and into recovery. Coming May 12 & 14.

Make sure you are counted!

You can complete your 2020 Census safely in your home either online ( my2020census.gov ) , by phone, or by paper form. Completing your Census makes sure a Census worker does not need to visit your home during NonResponse Follow Up later and maintains social distancing.  

Census data collection will continue into the summer, but you don't need to wait. Be counted now! It's quick, easy, safe, and important for the future of all North Carolina communities.

Visit the North Carolina census website for more information – www.census.nc.gov
How to Maintain Resident Services and Generate Revenue During COVID-19

Join this live webinar on May 6th as leaders from the Town of North Andover, MA and the City of Wooster, OH, share how they maintained resident services online and are keeping revenue streams and economic development flowing even during a crisis.

COVID-19: Laboratory Testing for Virus Presence and Antibody Response

On Wednesday, May 6, at 11 a.m., join LabCorp Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dorothy Adcock and Vice President of Employer Services Heather Provino for an overview of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Tailored to business leaders, the presentation will help distinguish laboratory testing for the presence of virus and its antibody response.

To prepare employers for the state’s reopening, LabCorp will explain testing options available for responsible re-entry of employees. Scientific information regarding COVID-19 is evolving rapidly; the information provided in this presentation will be accurate as of early May 2020.

Education: The Road to Recovery and Resiliency

Join us Tuesday, May 5, at 2 p.m. as education leaders discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our state’s education systems and what the road to recovery looks like.

Speakers include Peter Hans, president of the NC Community College System; Dr. Randy Woodson, chancellor of NC State University; and Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools and NC Superintendent of the Year.

Budgeting During a Crisis

This ICMA webinar covers the first principles of cutback budgeting, lessons from real-world experience during the Great Recession, and exploration of how simulation software can be used to frame the fact-based trade-off discussions your public entity will need to have. Case studies from local governments of all sizes are profiled to show how online public engagement can help provide essential feedback to governments making these difficult choices.

Key Insights from Government Leaders Dealing with Coronavirus

Check out this blog post to read how 3 government leaders responded quickly in the crisis to protect their communities and are ensuring continuity of crucial government functions, and how they are leveraging modern technology to aid in their response.

Golden LEAF Scholarship COVID-19 Fund to Support Rural Students at Participating NC Community Colleges
At the April 2020 Board meeting, the Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $500,000 to the North Carolina Community College System to create a scholarship fund for North Carolina community college students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Golden LEAF Scholarship COVID-19 Fund will serve community college students who live in  eligible rural counties  that are tobacco-dependent or economically distressed, demonstrate financial need, and have been affected by COVID-19, during the current academic year.
The scholarships are available to students now through June 2020. To access these funds, contact a  participating community college  financial aid office.
***  Learn More  ***

Check out the new COVID 19 Rescources Web Page . It is continuing to grow with resources every day and has some very valuable information.

Here are a few highlights:

·        The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program is looking for opportunities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about this opportunity HERE.
·        There are a number of new PRIVATE funding sources that have been added HERE.
·        And there are a number of technology resources HERE that will be particularly pertinent for ecommerce and as we approach the recovery phase.
·        If you are looking for ideas on how other communities are providing funding assistance or marketing local businesses, THIS is your resource page.
Telehealth Helping North Carolinians Access Care
Using telehealth, North Carolinians can receive services while avoiding the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Doctors and other clinicians across the state are using telehealth to deliver primary care and prenatal care; help patients manage asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions; and provide behavioral health counseling, physical therapy and more. All insurance companies in the state, including Medicaid and Medicare, are covering healthcare visits through telehealth. DHHS and NC Medicaid have developed a video and a flyer to help alleviate concerns and encourage people to talk with their doctors about using telehealth to get the care they need to stay healthy.

Federal Unemployment Insurance Assistance Programs

The federal CARES Act provides for three temporary unemployment compensation programs due to COVID-19:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

$2 million Emergency Grant will Support Behavioral Health Response to COVID-19

A $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will support NCDHHS’ efforts to address the growing needs of people with mental health issues and substance use disorder as it relates to the COVID-19 crisis, along with the mental health needs of the general public and health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic.

Using CDBG for Rental Assistance During COVID-19 Crisis

The CARES Act includes funding for housing in two specific ways — $4 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) targeted at homeless populations and $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which is a more flexible source of funds. The CDBG funds will be deployed in three tranches to both state governments and directly to some local governments.

Food Banks Have an Urgent Need for Donations

Get or give food through a food bank near you. 

Here's what's new on  our COVID-19 resource page :

Know the symptoms: The CDC has updated its list of COVID-19 symptoms. The updated list of symptoms includes cough, shortness of breath, or at least two of the following:

  • fever
  • chills or repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of taste or smell 

Guidance for Grantees:

  • A new FAQ for Older Americans Act Title III-B and III-E Grantees
  • Updated FAQ for Centers for Independent Living on the COVID-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020
  • Q&A from ACL's April 15 call with State Unit on Aging Directors

Making Virtual Meetings Accessible: Physical distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 have increased the use of virtual meeting and video conferencing tools. How these tools are used can determine whether or not people with disabilities are able to access a virtual space. We've expanded our video communications section to include information on accessible virtual meeting platforms and best practices from the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology, Disability:IN, and Rooted in Rights.

Webinars for Caregivers and Those Who Support Them: Two webinars this week will focus on supporting family members caring for older adults. The Alzheimer Association will host a "Caregivers Town Hall" on Wednesday at 1pm ET and Resources for Integrated Care will host a webinar on supporting family caregivers of older adults through times of stress and isolation Thursday at 12:00pm ET .

Calling All Senior Centers: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many senior centers to temporarily close. The National Council on Aging has created a resource guide for senior centers with ideas for programming and continuing services.

Staying Safe and Informed: ACL's Eldercare Locator and the Alliance for Aging Research have created a two-page COVID-19 guide for older adults with information on symptoms, what to do if you are sick, how to avoid scams, and finding community resources.

COVID-19 and Equal Employment: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed a resource providing updated technical assistance on COVID-19 questions arising under federal equal employment opportunity law including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
Previous Calls and Webinars
and Previous Weekly Newsletters

Ask The Experts: The COVID-19 Economy—Slowdown or Shutdown? (April 16) On Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m., Richmond Federal Reserve President and CEO Tom Barkin will join renowned North Carolina economist Dr. Michael Walden and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Managing Director & Senior Economist Mark Vitner to provide a candid economic outlook for our state and nation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear their insights and bring your questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our economic landscape. Time for Q&A will be allotted.  Watch here .

Overview of CARES Act Tax Relief for Businesses (April 8)
Experts from Smith Anderson and Martin Marietta offer details regarding tax relief for businesses through the CARES Act.  Watch here.
Paycheck Protection Program: What You Need to Know (April 2)
The North Carolina Bankers Association discusses the federal assistance available to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program and the CARES Act.  Watch here.

A Breakdown of the CARES Act for Small Business (March 27)
National Small Business Town Hall Presented by Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Watch here .

Previous Newsletters are being added to our website after each publication. You can access them at www.ucpcog.org .
Join the Broadband Task Force, Be Part of the Solution

The Upper Coastal Plain Broadband Task Force (BBTF) meets every two months to talk broadband and develop strategies to attract affordable, reliable, and adequate Internet Service Providers to the region’s unserved and underserved areas. Since its inception in April 2019, the BBTF has guided UCPCOG in obtaining $72,000 from EDA to support a Regional Broadband Study.    

BBTF members will assist UCPCOG staff in carrying out the Regional Broadband Study’s scope of work, which includes developing public surveys, mapping regional broadband assets, hosting technical workshops, educating the community, providing resources to communities to attract quality Internet Service Providers, and more.  Now is a great time get involved in this project, join the BBTF, a have a role in solving the region’s broadband connectivity issues. 

To join or to request additional information, simply contact Ben Farmer, UCPCOG Economic Development Planner: bfarmer@regionc.org or (252)-234-5966. You are also encouraged to attend the May 8 th Broadband 101+ Webinar, hosted by the BBTF in partnership with NC Hearts Gigabit. For more information about the webinar, click here.