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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(46): 1603-1607, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524679


During October 3, 2020-January 9, 2021, North Carolina experienced a 400% increase in daily reported COVID-19 cases (1). To handle the increased number of cases and rapidly notify persons receiving a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (patients), North Carolina state and local health departments moved from telephone call notification only to telephone call plus automated text and email notification (digital notification) beginning on December 24, 2020. Overall, among 200,258 patients, 142,975 (71%) were notified by telephone call or digital notification within the actionable period (10 days from their diagnosis date)* during January 2021, including at least 112,543 (56%) notified within 24 hours of report to North Carolina state and local health departments, a significantly higher proportion than the 25,905 of 175,979 (15%) notified within 24 hours during the preceding month (p<0.001). Differences in text notification by age, race, and ethnicity were observed. Automated digital notification is a feasible, rapid and efficient method to support timely outreach to patients, provide guidance on how to isolate, access resources, inform close contacts, and increase the efficiency of case investigation staff members.

Automation , COVID-19/diagnosis , Electronic Mail , Text Messaging , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Notification/methods , Disease Notification/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Middle Aged , North Carolina/epidemiology , Time Factors , Young Adult
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(28): 991-996, 2021 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1311471


COVID-19 has disproportionately affected non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) and Hispanic persons in the United States (1,2). In North Carolina during January-September 2020, deaths from COVID-19 were 1.6 times higher among Black persons than among non-Hispanic White persons (3), and the rate of COVID-19 cases among Hispanic persons was 2.3 times higher than that among non-Hispanic persons (4). During December 14, 2020-April 6, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) monitored the proportion of Black and Hispanic persons* aged ≥16 years who received COVID-19 vaccinations, relative to the population proportions of these groups. On January 14, 2021, NCDHHS implemented a multipronged strategy to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations among Black and Hispanic persons. This included mapping communities with larger population proportions of persons aged ≥65 years among these groups, increasing vaccine allocations to providers serving these communities, setting expectations that the share of vaccines administered to Black and Hispanic persons matched or exceeded population proportions, and facilitating community partnerships. From December 14, 2020-January 3, 2021 to March 29-April 6, 2021, the proportion of vaccines administered to Black persons increased from 9.2% to 18.7%, and the proportion administered to Hispanic persons increased from 3.9% to 9.9%, approaching the population proportion aged ≥16 years of these groups (22.3% and 8.0%, respectively). Vaccinating communities most affected by COVID-19 is a national priority (5). Public health officials could use U.S. Census tract-level mapping to guide vaccine allocation, promote shared accountability for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with vaccine providers through data sharing, and facilitate community partnerships to support vaccine access and promote equity in vaccine uptake.

COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , /statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/ethnology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Care Rationing/methods , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Middle Aged , North Carolina/epidemiology , Vaccination Coverage/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult