NC Department of Health & Human Services secretary gives update on pandemic as holiday season begins


RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s onerous to say the COVID pandemic in North Carolina with out mentioning Dr. Mandy Cohen.

As cecretary of the North Carolina Division of Well being and Human Companies, she runs a division that has an annual finances of $20 billion and 17,000 workers.

On this web page, see on-demand each the Newsmakers piece that aired in our 10 p.m. newscast on Nov. 15 in addition to the online additional for the total scope of my dialog with Dr. Cohen.

Through the previous 18 months, via her many print and broadcast interviews and her common appearances at Gov. Roy Cooper’s pandemic media briefings, Cohen has — in some ways — change into the general public face of the pandemic within the state.

“I hate they’re associating me with such a tough time,” Cohen advised me throughout our first face-to-face assembly not too long ago. (I interviewed her through Zoom in November 2020.) “However main us via this tough pandemic, I wished to provide individuals good info and to speak rather a lot as a result of issues are altering so typically. And so I acknowledge that I used to be in dwelling rooms. What an honor.” 

Now because the pandemic seems to be coming into a brand new part after the delta variant upsurge and as we head into the vacation season, listed here are her takes on a few of the main COVID subjects:

ON WHERE WE ARE IN THE PANDEMIC:

“Once I suppose again to only a 12 months in the past and the place we have been final November of 2020 developments have been going up, we didn’t but have vaccines. We didn’t have extensively obtainable therapy. So we’re in a lot of a greater place proper now, however are we completed with this? No, I don’t. Sadly, this virus shouldn’t be completed with us but.”

ON WHETHER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SHOULD LIFE MASK MANDATES:

“I do suppose we’re transferring into hopefully a brand new part. Issues are entering into the proper route. Our children can get vaccinated. Now we have extra therapies, however — let me simply — a phrase of warning is we’re going into the holidays. We’re going into winter. So I do suppose people wish to be cautious as they’re it.”

ON ENDING MASK MANDATES IN SCHOOLS:

“So what I’d say is it’s an ideal milestone we’ve reached that our 5- to 11-year-olds can get vaccinated. Nice. So now we want a bit of little bit of time although, proper? Keep in mind, it’s a two-dose routine and so our children are simply getting their first dose after which it’s a few weeks after that that you’re technically totally vaccinated. So we wish to give people a while. Get vaccinated. Get your children protected. That’s a very powerful factor proper now. Then we must always positively come again and readdress what do we have to do with different layers of safety. However I believe it’s too early to know fairly but.”

ON PARENTS STILL HESITANT FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO GET VACCINE:

“I’ve two daughters who’re 7 and 9. I had the chance to have a look at the scientific information myself and ensure to know that this vaccine is not only secure, however it’s additionally efficient. And I believe the opposite factor dad and mom must know is that youngsters are weak to COVID. We noticed quite a lot of hospitalizations this summer time in our children from COVID and even some died. And so when you might have a secure instrument to assist shield your kids, that’s what I need them to listen to from he’s benefit from this secure instrument now.”

ON PLANNING TO VISIT RELATIVES AS WE HEAD INTO THANKSGIVING:

“What I’d say is completely be vaccinated, proper? I hope that you’re vaccinated, but additionally your loved ones members are vaccinated. So you may shield your self and one another. I’ll say there’s an extra layer of safety you’ll be able to take which can also be doing one of the house fast exams or perhaps a PCR check forward of that household gathering. Would use it as a belt and suspenders, get vaccinated and likewise get examined earlier than you see your loved ones members.”

ON THE TOOLS WE HAVE AVAILABLE TO PREVENT AND TREAT COVID:

“So if you do have COVID signs, get a check instantly and be sure to’re speaking to your physician about obtainable therapies after which use different protections and layers of safety — masks, social distancing, washing your arms. However issues are transferring in the proper route so we are able to get again to the individuals and locations we love. We’re transferring in the proper route, however we’ve obtained to do and use a few of these instruments that we all know work.”

For extra info, head to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID Dashboard



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