News & OpinionWeekly News Roundup

5 Things To Know: City, Atrium Partner on Violence-Intervention Program

...and four more stories from Feb. 7-13, 2021

violence-intervention program
Vi Lyles looks on as SAFE Communities Committee Chair Larken Egleston speaks at Wednesday’s press conference announcing a new hospital-based violence-intervention program partnership with Atrium. (Photo by David Flowers/City of Charlotte)

Atrium Health Announces In-Hospital Violence-Intervention Program

Charlotte government leaders and Atrium Health officials held a press conference on Wednesday announcing the launch of a new violence-intervention program that will take place inside of Atrium’s hospitals, forming a new office consisting of specialists who will work with victims of violence to help ensure they will not be involved in more violent incidents moving forward. 

According to Dr. David Jacobs, director of trauma services with Atrium, about 25% of violence victims who come through the company’s hospital system are later revictimized or become perpetrators themselves. Jacobs said that number can be as high as 40% in other parts of the country. The new violence-intervention program will send specialists, who will be on call at all hours of the night, to consult with victims of violence beginning in the emergency department, so as to still reach victims who are not admitted into the hospital.  

violence-intervention program
Dr. David Jacobs joined Wednesday’s press conference announcing the new violence-intervention program virtually. (Photo by David Flowers/City of Charlotte)

Jacobs said services will be offered on a case-by-case basis based on an individual’s needs, ranging from short-term de-escalation to long-term gang intervention, help with legal services, and connections to resources related to domestic violence. 

“We will first assess how that patient got into the position of becoming a violence victim, what were the risk factors, then obtain an inventory of protective factors that patient has in the community, what services we can offer,” Jacobs said. “Whatever it takes to fortify that individual’s environment so that they will not become a victim of violence again.” 

Jacobs pointed out that the intervention process may go on for weeks, months or even a year after an incident occurs. 

The partnership between the city of Charlotte and Atrium Health is part of a relatively new approach to violence prevention and intervention from the city that aims to treat community violence as a public health crisis. In October 2020, Charlotte City Council approved the SAFE Charlotte plan, which includes a grant program for local organizations working in violence intervention, and is currently also working with the national Cure Violence program, which will partner with local grassroots organizers to become violence interrupters. 

“We believe there are significant synergies between our hospital-based approach and Cure Violence,” Jacobs said. “Neither of these programs are an overnight fix. A sustained reduction in violence will take time and take patience. This investment alone will not get us where we want to be.” 

COVID Test Positivity Rate Drops Back Below 10% Locally

According to the latest data from Mecklenburg County Public Health, released Friday morning, there had been 91,307 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 818 deaths due to the coronavirus at that time. That’s an increase of 2,713 cases and 21 deaths since the same time last week. According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through the week up to Wednesday, the average test-positivity rate was at 9.1%, while the average number of people hospitalized on any given day was at 286, both decreasing trends.

(Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that members of Group 3 in the state’s vaccination plan will begin receiving first doses on Feb. 24, beginning with educators and other school-related employees, before other frontline workers included in Group 3 are able to receive first doses beginning on March 10. That second group includes grocery store workers, food-processing workers, restaurant employees, first responders and others

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, as of Thursday at midnight, there had been 1,074,131 first doses of the vaccine administered in North Carolina, about 96% of those received from the federal government; and 408,452 second doses administered, about 68% of those received. That number included 82,904 first doses and 31,832 second doses in Mecklenburg County. 

Gold Line Begins Testing Newly Finished Routes

If you see a light rail car off its tracks and riding down the road late at night in the coming months, you haven’t taken too many mushrooms, that’s just the CityLYNX Gold Line. Construction on Phase 2 of the Gold Line plan finished this week, as operators began the testing portion that will precede full service. 

The CityLYNX Gold Line will be a 10-mile, 37-stop streetcar system that, when all of its phases are finished, will connect all current and future rapid transit lines, including the LYNX Blue Line light rail, LYNX Silver Line light rail, and LYNX Red Line commuter rail, while providing critical connections to the future Charlotte Gateway District and Multimodal Station.

A phased look at the CityLYNX Gold Line. (Courtesy of CATS)

Phase 2 runs from Johnson C. Smith University in the Five Points area of west Charlotte to Sunnyside Avenue in the Elizabeth neighborhood of east Charlotte. The line will eventually run from the Rosa Parks Community Transit Center on Beatties Ford Road near the I-85 interchange in west Charlotte to the Eastland Community Transit Center at the former Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte. According to a statement from CATS, testing will take place during the overnight hours for “the next several weeks,” followed by “pre-revenue testing,” which will take place during normal operating hours. 

City Grants Available for Artists and Residents

The COVID-19 Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program (RAMP CLT) has reopened to individuals and families experiencing a delay in making their rent, mortgage, utility, or Charlotte Water payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for funding through the program, visit the RAMP CLT website and complete the utility assistance application.

Crisis Assistance Ministry (CAM) also provides curbside utility assistance for Mecklenburg County residents. For more information, call 704-371-3001, visit the CAM website, or visit the facility in person at 500-A Spratt St. Common Wealth Charlotte, a local nonprofit organization, offers 0% interest loans of up to $300 to qualified Charlotte Water customers to avoid service disconnection. The Common Wealth COVID-19 Loan has a  six-month term of repayment after a three-month no-payment grace period. If interested, text CLTWater to 474747 and complete the request form.

Any artists out there looking for work can apply to take part in the city’s new artistic public vaccination campaign. Mini-grants of $500 are available to create art and multilingual messaging that inspires trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. Messages in foreign language are encouraged, especially in Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Chinese, Arabic, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Russian, Chin, Nepali, and Burmese. Learn more about the grant at the city’s website

Two Unidentified Males Murdered This Week 

Two men have been killed in Charlotte since our last Weekly News Roundup, bringing the total number of illegal killings in the city so far this year to 10. 

At around 11 p.m. last Saturday, police responded to a shots fired call on East W.T. Harris Boulevard near Robinson Church Road in east Charlotte and found a teenage boy dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Two other individuals suffered minor, non-life-threatening injuries during the incident and were transported to area hospitals: A 16-year-old girl fell after the incident and was transported to Atrium University, and a 50-year-old man suffered head trauma and was transported to Atrium Main. Due to the homicide victim’s age, his name has not been released. 


Just before 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a shooting call on Kelston Place near the old Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte and found an adult male dead of a gunshot wound. His name has not yet been released. 

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