The North Carolina General Assembly House COVID-19 Health Committee met on April 9, 2019.

Impact of COVID-19 on Child Care Providers

Donna White, Interim President of Smart Start provided a child care provider perspective to the Committee.

According to the presentation, North Carolina is experiencing widespread closures of child care centers. Most centers are operating at less than 60% capacity.

In order to provide childcare to essential health workers, these centers are asking for cleaning supplies, thermometers, and personal protection equipment. Additionally, they believe direct grants to cover operating costs and funding to recover lost revenue could help keep centers open after COVID-19.

Impact of COVID-19 on Aging Population/Services

Mary Bethel, NC Coalition on Aging Board Member, provided the committee an overview of the challenges for older adults and their provider networks relating to COVID-19.

She added that more than 1 in 5 North Carolinians are over the age of 60. In 2018, 80 NC counties had more people 60 and over than under 18.

Many older adults in North Carolina have chronic conditions which puts them in a higher risk category for COVID-19.

Of the deaths contributed to COVID-19 in North Carolina, 80% were individuals 65+ years and older.

Specifically, concerns were voiced about the increasing reports of scams and fraudulent activities targeted to older adults since the onset of the pandemic. Concern was also expressed for the need for more PPE and the availability of tests.

Impact of COVID-19 on EMS/First Responders

William Kehler, Director of the McDowell County Emergency Services, provided an overview of the front line EMS workers during this pandemic.

He thanked the NCGA for their commitment to funding the community paramedic telehealth pilot programs. Currently, community paramedics are doing welfare checks on older county citizens and are able to provide telehealth services to the community.

Kehler added that flexibility around requiring two paramedics to be in a emergency vehicle at all times has allowed the use of experienced drivers who may not be paramedics to drive while a paramedic provides care to a patient.

He emphasized the importance of child care services to the first responder community.

McDowell County has also partnered with local businesses to obtain more PPE supplies.