State introduces new data tool, human services program to aid in tracking COVID-19

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- To better understand how COVID-19 impacts the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services launched two new data tools on their website.

County demographics made public on the state dashboard would categorize COVID-19 cases by gender, race, ethnicity, and age. The site will also supply public data about case clusters in child care programs and schools.

“This is the time to say what can we do differently to change the trajectory of our cases,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS secretary.

Cohen said key metrics behind COVID-19 studies are moving in the wrong direction in the state.

Regardless of how the cases move in the months to come, the state hopes a new program will help in the long term impact of the virus.

NCC360 is a new program pegged as a way to bridge healthcare and human services across the state.

“I promise you, our work will not be done until inequities no longer exist for every North Carolinian and every North Carolinian has the equal opportunity to not only survive but thrive,” said Georgina Dukes, director of Unite Us.

The program helps with issues ranging from food, housing, transportation, family support. The state says the program already has thousands of public and private partners across North Carolina on board.

The program can be used by someone who is sick who may need help with services during the pandemic. It could also be used by someone potentially let go during the pandemic who is now looking to get back in the workforce.

Dukes said the program was used for first time by a woman in Johnston County.

She went to her church to pray. Dukes said the church was in the NCCARE360 network and put in a referral for employment services for the woman. She said the woman was approved for assistance the next morning.

“Two agencies that would not traditionally refer to each other were able to successfully help a mother get employed by not giving her a sheet of resources and hoping it works out,” Duke said.

The state says anyone in North Carolina can use the program to look for services.

People can visit the NCCARE360 website to view or request services, or they can call 2-1-1 to be connected.

In a press release, Gov. Roy Cooper said, “All kinds of factors can affect people’s health, and our groundbreaking and innovative NCCARE360 brings government together with the private sector to help people deal with the all the challenges of being sick with COVID-19 or any other health problem.

Cohen said this is just the start of having this infrastructure in place. Now, it’s a matter of how to use it to address the current pandemic.

Click here to view the site and find services in your own community.

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