New wave of COVID expected as NC state of emergency lifts

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Throughout North Carolina The COVID-19 emergency ends next monthHealth experts said the pandemic is not over and predicted a further increase in cases and hospitalizations as the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become dominant in the United States.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) lifts the state of emergency on Aug. 15 after enacting the state budget on Monday, which included state law changes his administration sought to continue its pandemic response.

dr Julie Swann is a healthcare systems expert and leads a team at NC State University that has been modeling the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals.

“The period where I really expect a bigger increase is closer to August, September, even October. And part of that increase is related to the drop in immunity from past recovery,” said Dr. Swann. “The very best defense we have is to get people vaccinated and continue to do so.”

While some patients are testing positive for COVID-19 in hospitals, even though that’s not the main reason they’re there in the first place, Swann noted that it’s still putting a strain on those hospitals

“We need to think about our hospital systems and whether they can handle that capacity, especially if this surge occurs as we predict and if it happens in multiple states around the same time,” said Dr. Swann.

While North Carolina remains under a state of emergency for another month, there have been no statewide restrictions for more than a year.

dr Pia MacDonald, an epidemiologist at RTI International, said the state is in a very different position than it was a year ago given the wider availability of vaccines and treatments.

“We’re way ahead of where we were,” she said. “It’s far from over. But from a medical perspective and from a public health perspective, we are becoming more and more familiar with how best to intervene.”

She said that with young children who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to focus on improving childhood immunization coverage overall.

“We’re at a point now where, to some degree, it’s time to learn how to live with this disease as part of the disease portfolio that we’re constantly looking at,” she said. “The higher the vaccination rate among the children and then among the siblings at home, the better we can cushion a large increase in autumn.”

Governor Cooper has decided to lift the emergency order more than two years after it was first implemented. North Carolina is among about a dozen states that still have statewide orders, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Earlier this year, NC Department of Health and Human Services officials called on the General Assembly to incorporate various regulatory changes into state laws that would help lift the state of emergency. They relate to: standing orders for vaccinations, tests and treatments; licensing and regulation in healthcare, particularly in relation to staff; and professionals in asbestos management, lead remediation and renovation.

Republicans in the General Assembly have been pushing for him to end the state of emergency much sooner.

“I think it’s a sigh of relief now that it’s over,” said Senator Jim Burgin (R-Harnett). “A cloud lifted off the state of North Carolina.”

As part of the budget Cooper signed last year, starting in 2023, the governor must follow a process to extend statewide emergencies longer than 30 days.

To do this, the governor must obtain approval from the State Council, a group of 10 nationally elected officials, including the governor. In the event of a nationwide emergency lasting more than 60 days, the General Assembly would have to enact legislation to extend it. Both the Council of State and the General Assembly currently have Republican majorities.

“I trust the governor to make an initial decision, but after that I think you need some wise advice to decide whether to lock down a state for 30 to 45 days,” Sen. Burgin said. “Most of the time it was never a problem. As far as I know, this is the first time in North Carolina history that something like this has happened. I hope it’s the only time it happens.”

https://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/new-covid-wave-expected-as-ncs-state-of-emergency-set-to-be-lifted/ New wave of COVID expected as NC state of emergency lifts

Dais Johnston

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