City Launches Initiative to Help Small Businesses
On Friday the city of Charlotte launched its new Open for Business initiative, designed to support local small businesses that are open during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout the recovery. The Open for Business public dashboard and app will create a comprehensive and accessible avenue to connect residents with small businesses in Charlotte while the local stay-at-home order is in effect and throughout the COVID-19 recovery, according to a release from the city.
The Open for Business dashboard will include a directory of Charlotte small businesses and their operations, including modified hours, changes to service, delivery options and special offers. Small-business owners can complete an application to have their business added to the dashboard. Business owners who have temporarily closed their business as a result of COVID-19 can also submit their information to be added once the stay-at-home order is lifted.
“We heard directly from the small business community that visibility today is critical to surviving this pandemic,” Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson stated in the release. “Small business owners are finding creative ways to continue to serve their customers during this time, and we want to elevate their presence however we can. We are excited to launch this dashboard and share it with our residents who are eager to support them.”
County Announces First Long-Term-Care Facilities to See COVID-19 Outbreaks
Mecklenburg County officials announced on Friday that they will begin naming long-term-care (LTC) facilities such as nursing homes at which COVID-19 outbreaks have been confirmed. An outbreak is defined as two positive cases within a facility. Thus far, facilities that have seen outbreaks include Hunter Woods Nursing & Rehab Center, Huntersville Oaks, Pavilion Health Center, Autumn Care of Cornelius, The Social at Cotswold, Carrington Place Rehab & Living Center, and The Laurels.
According to a release from the county on Friday, the first positive case in an LTC facility was confirmed earlier this month. Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) provided guidance to the facility’s leadership and staff while working with them to implement infection control measures, including contact-trace interviews and isolation/quarantine plans, the release stated.
“Our infectious disease prevention team continues to work nonstop to prevent and manage novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in long-term care facilities and other congregate living settings,” stated MCPH Director Gibbie Harris.
MCPH will begin identifying LTC facilities that report an outbreak of COVID-19 and including them in the biweekly data release the department provides. As of Friday evening, there were 1,136 cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County residents and 24 deaths.
City Temporarily Resumes Yard Waste Pick-Up
The city announced this week that on Monday, April 27, Solid Waste Services will begin a sweep of the city to recover yard waste from the recent storm and early season yard maintenance. This will be a one-time collection. No other yard-waste service is scheduled following this collection until the current suspension is lifted. Residents are advised to put their yard waste at the curb prior to April 27 for collection and leave it until it is collected.
On Friday, WSOC’s Joe Bruno reported that the city will provide premium pay for first-responders and other essential city employees who have frequent, direct contact with the public such as sanitation workers. According to Bruno, the raise will be an increase of 5% over base pay and be retroactive to March 26, lasting through the stay-at-home order.
Alma Adams Pushes Bill in Support of Black Maternal Health
Friday marked the last day of Black Maternal Health Week, and U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of Charlotte used that fact to urge lawmakers to pass the Kira Johnson Act, a bill she introduced in March as part of the Black Maternal Momnibus of 2020, a package of bills addressing the maternal health crisis.
“During Black Maternal Health Week, I’m highlighting an important bill in the Momnibus: the Kira Johnson Act (H.R. 6144),” Adams, cofounder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, stated in a release on Friday. “The bill invests in reducing maternal mortality and morbidity rates overall, and especially for Black women. Kira is one of the many moms who we lost too soon. A mistake made during her delivery went unaddressed for several hours and ultimately cost her her life. This story hits close to home because it is so common in our community; so common, in fact, that I almost lost my daughter after she gave birth because her doctors wouldn’t listen.”
Johnson, 39, died on April 13, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of a scheduled cesarean section 12 hours after she delivered her son. Her story was adapted for an episode of The Resident on Fox that aired this week.
Black women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related issue than white women. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families website: “Black women in the United States experience unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes, including disproportionately high rates of death related to pregnancy or childbirth. Both societal and health system factors contribute to high rates of poor health outcomes and maternal mortality for Black women, who are more likely to experience barriers to obtaining quality care and often face racial discrimination throughout their lives.”
No Murders in Charlotte
At the time of this writing, there were no new homicides in Charlotte this week, keeping the total for the year at 29.