COVID-19 vaccine update
The Durham County Department of Public Health announces that COVID-19 vaccinations for people in Phase 1b Group 1 (those who are age 65+) had started but, for now, they’re on hold until the State can acquire more. They’re encouraging eligible people to get on the vaccine waitlist. Click here to be added to the list so that when vaccines are available you’ll already be in line for an appointment (they’re filling slots as they become available).
Just so you know:
When appointments resume, you’ll be able to call to set an appointment at one of these three locations:
Early-March update: As of Wednesday, March 3, teachers and staff of k–12 schools and childcare facilities are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Get on the County’s waitlist as soon as possible so that when appointments are set, you’ll be in line to get one.
Late-February update: The Durham County Department for Public Health is transitioning to a new and improved COVID-19 Vaccination Waiting List. Hopefully they have already contacted everyone in Groups 1 and 2 and added them to the new list. If you were on the old list and haven’t been contacted or if you’d like to be added for the first time, click here.
If you’ve been exposed, you’ll want to know
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announces an app, SlowCOVIDNC, which can let you know if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Of course, this only works if people who have tested positive submit their results for use of the makers of this app. Ideally, SlowCOVIDNC will play a part in slowing the spread of the virus.
Help while in quarantine
North Carolinians who have been strongly suggested by a health care professional, health department, or contact tracer to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 might be eligible for support from the state. Having to stay home from work could result in serious financial harm. If this happens to you, see if you can get some financial relief (for rent or mortgage, bills, medical care, childcare, and/or other living expenses), home-delivered groceries, meals, and/or medications; transportation to and from medical appointments or shelter; COVID-19 suppliers (hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and face masks); and connection to primary medical care. Click here to learn more about this NC Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 program.
Mental wellness and emotional support
#StartSpeakingStopStigma will sponsor a series of virtual Emotional Support Group Talks every Sunday starting at 8pm. This free series of interactive conversations will be judgment-free and in a safe space hosted by Nakikia Wilson, MHSA, and Dr Shana Williams, Clinical NP Mental Health. Contact Ms Wilson via email or call her at 919-954-0546 to reserve your spot.
Duke study on depression and emotions
Duke University is conducting a research study on depression and the regulation of emotions in adults from ages 35 to 75. Researchers are trying to figure out how adults deal with emotions through the years as they get older. Adults in this age range who have been feeling down or depressed most of the day for the past two weeks might qualify for this study. They’ll be asked to pay several visits to the Duke University Medical Center and will receive compensation. Click here for more info and to evaluate whether the time commitment is manageable for this paid study. You can also contact Duke from this page to start the assessment process.
Drive-through COVID-19 tests
Walgreens is making it a bit easier to get tested for coronavirus. Testing will be free of charge for people who meet certain criteria (using state and federal guidelines). First, you’ll go online to fill out a survey and see if you’re eligible. You do have to be screened and answer a few questions first.
The requirements for taking the test are:
Once you’re determined eligible for the test, you’ll be able to make an appointment online. Tests are offered through the drive-through and a Walgreens pharmacist will oversee the process.
The location offering the coronavirus tests is actually an old (closed) Walgreens (3798 Guess Rd), so be aware that the building no longer has a Walgreens sign in front. It’s just a few doors down from the newer Walgreens, so it should be easy to find.
Click here for more info and to get started.
CVS is now also offering drive-up COVID-19 testing at Durham locations. You must be age 18+. Click here and answer a few questions to see if you qualify for the test. Then, make an appointment by choosing a test site and time and fill out the registration form. When you arrive for your test, be sure that you have a current photo ID and the confirmation email or test message. You’ll be able to stay in your vehicle. The test should be free; insurance is accepted, and if you don’t have health insurance you need to show your drivers license/state ID and give your Social Security number.
Here are the CVS locations in Durham:
COVID-19 testing for kids
Some parents have been asking where they can take their children to be tested for coronavirus. As you might have noticed, testing at the old Walgreen’s on Guess Rd, CVS pharmacies, and special one-day events have stated that only people age 18 and up are eligible for the tests.
Folks at the Lincoln Community Health Center (1301 Fayetteville St) have announced that a Pediatric Health Call can be made to determine whether your child should be tested for coronavirus. You can call 919-956-4000 whether you’re covered by insurance or not; also the fees are income-based, so don’t hesitate if you are of limited means. Get the ball rolling by making that phone call.
Free COVID-19 tests by OptumServe Health Services
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has contracted with OptumServe Health Services to administer free COVID-19 tests. The tests are free. Photo IDs or other documents aren’t needed and the tests are available to anyone age 1 and up. OptumServe will always have someone there who speaks Spanish. You don’t have to make an appointment, but if you’d like to do so, click here.
Here’s the schedule:
Free COVID-19 testing
This month, you can get tested for COVID-19 at the Durham County Department of Public Health (414 E Main St) on weekdays, 8:30am–5pm.
The American Red Cross will host the following Blood Drives. Click here for more info and to set an appointment.
The UHill Apartments (3806 University Dr) will host a Blood Drive on Saturday, February 20, noon–4pm, in partnership with the Blood Connection. After donating blood, each donor will receive a free COVID-19 test and $20 gift card. Click here for more info and to set up an appointment.
Online hangout for teens with autism
Autistics United, the Western North Carolina (WNC) Autistic Teens United and Jen Pyne will cohost an Autistic Teens & Young Adults Monthly Zoom Social Group Meeting on Saturday, February 13, noon–2pm. Socialize without pressure and share tips, stories, and special interests (music, comic books, transportation, animals, etc) during this free Zoom event. Visit the Facebook event page for more info, and click here to attend (meeting ID 846 9043 7567).
Hersey Pharmacy (4711 Hope Valley Rd, in the Woodcroft Shopping Center) offers free vitamins for kids, adults, and seniors. Stop by and sign up for your 30-day supply; you can pick up free vitamins every month. Call 919-346-4008 for more info.
NAMI’s COVID-19 guide
NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) has put together a thorough, handy, and useful COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (timed perfectly for Mental Health Awareness Month). We’ve all heard about the importance of washing our hands and cleaning surfaces and doorknobs, but NAMI goes beyond this and helps us deal with our feelings, doubts, and anxieties in a helpful and reassuring way. It’s excellent—check it out below (the first one is in English and the second one is in Spanish):
Free webinars by NeedyMeds
NeedyMeds, a health information resource, will be offering several free webinars this month. Soak up some knowledge from the comfort of your desk at work or kitchen table if you work from home (be sure to click on the links and register in advance):
Click here to explore the NeedyMeds website.
Community Health Coalition’s monthly tips
This month’s Health Tips newsletter from the Community Health Coalition emphasizes The Importance of Exercise. Read it below:
Health Tips is created in partnership with Duke Energy, Duke Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Durham County Department of Public Health, and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.
Making the safest face mask
A doctor’s wife was determined to keep him safe, knowing that medical staff is beginning to fall ill while treating patients suffering with COVID-19. She figured out how to make a face mask that’s superior to the handmade masks so many people are now making out of cotton. The main ingredient is vacuum bag containing a HEPA filter. If you don’t have a mask of your own, you can follow her directions and make at least four from one bag. Right now, these HEPA-filter bags are readily available from Amazon (a package of 6 for $7).
If you end up making more face masks than you need, you can donate your extras to UNC Health (inquire at BEOC@ncdps.gov).
You can use this pattern to create your mask, and the directions can be found here. Watch the YouTube tutorial with all of the information you need below.
That All May Read
The National Library Service, in cooperation with libraries across the country, hosts the That All May Read program. People with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that keeps them from reading or holding a book can have braille or audio books delivered to them free of charge. You can choose physical books or free downloads. Click here to get started.
Operation Medicine Drop
Formed by a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina, the Riverkeepers of North Carolina, NC State Bureau of Investigation, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of North Carolina, and local law enforcement agencies, Operation Medicine Drop is an initiative that helps people safely dispose of expired and unused medications. A common practice is to flush them down the toilet, but that poisons the waters and endangers wildlife. Simply tossing them in the trash is also a bad idea. Someone could come along, fish them out, and use them as recreation drugs. A large percentage of overdoses and other drug-related problems are actually due to the abuse of over-the-counter medications (some of which have been improperly disposed of).
Operation Medicine Drop provides safe dropoff points for those who want to get rid of their old medications easily and safely. Here are the Durham County locations:
Click here for more info.
Free counseling services
People often say, especially after a tragedy occurs, “Too bad people don’t have access to mental-health services.” The Freedom House Recovery Center (formerly Mental Health America of the Triangle) has stepped in and has developed the Pro Bono Counseling Network for underinsured/uninsured people in need of services. Up to eight counseling sessions with licensed therapists are available—swift action can often prevent situations where things can spiral out of control. Call 919-942-8083 for an interview where the ideal therapist for the situation can be assigned. (You should always call 911 for mental-health/substance abuse emergencies—don’t wait.)
Licensed therapists who’d like to join the Pro Bono Counseling Network can call or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Freedom House Recovery Center is located at 104 New Stateside Dr, in Chapel Hill. Click here to learn more about their programs and services.
Free rides for cancer patients
The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program provides free rides to and from cancer-related treatments for Durham County residents. Call 800-227-2345 x1. You need to give at least four business days’ notice, with the date, time, and location of your appointment. This service operates on weekdays, 8am to 5pm, and it relies on volunteer drivers—so if you have the time and ability to offer assistance as a driver, please click here for more information. Drivers might not be able to accommodate physically disabled patients, but it’s usually okay to take a friend/family member who can help you in and out the vehicle.
Project Access connects people who don’t have health insurance with medical services that are affordable or free of charge. Their HELP (Health Equipment Loan Program) helps uninsured medical patients gain access to medical equipment that they couldn’t otherwise afford. (Even people under Medicaid or Medicare can only qualify for certain equipment once every five years.) If you any have walkers, wheelchairs, bedside commodes, canes, knee-scooters, reachers, and tub-transfer benches, it would be greatly appreciated if you can donate them on a Tuesday (10am–2pm) or a Friday (1–5pm). Everything will be sanitized and repaired if necessary so they can be loaned out to people in need. Call 919-470-7281 or click here for more info. HELP’s new location is 4206 N Roxboro St, Suite 100.
Get your eating under control
Overeaters Anonymous meetings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, 12:30–1:30pm, at First Presbyterian Church (305 E Main St). Call Robin at 919-683-3013 for more info. Meetings are also held on Saturdays, 10–11:30am, at Westminster Presbyterian Church (3639 Old Chapel Hill Rd). Sunday meetings are held at 10:30am at the Structure House (3017 Pickett Rd). Call Judith at 919-929-9891 for more info.
Children and teens are often warned about the dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs, but many parents don’t realize the danger of letting unused prescription medications sit around in their medicine cabinets. Half the teens surveyed believe that prescription drugs are “safe,” at least safer than illegal drugs. This often leads to experimentation, and young people can succumb to accidental poisoning, addiction, and abuse. Most unused or expired prescription drugs that end up being experimented with and sold on the street are taken from home medicine cabinets.
Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that young people who experiment with prescription drugs are twice as likely as other teens to use alcohol, more likely to use marijuana, and even more likely to seek out illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Adults are just now realizing that they shouldn’t let medications they’re no longer using sit around. Safe Kids North Carolina (Durham County branch) partners with the Durham Police Department to offer safe dropoff locations where medications can be disposed of. Tossing them in the trash doesn’t keep them from being discovered and flushing them down the toilet can poison the water supply. Special events such as Operation Medicine Drop make at least half a dozen dropoff points available for certain days of the year, but there are three dropoff points that are operational throughout the entire year:
Alzheimer’s Disease is on the rise and as the baby boomer generation ages, the medical profession is stepping up its efforts to try to find a cure. Countless studies have been undertaken, but researchers now want to see whether African-Americans have any differences in memory and age-related conditions as compared to the majority population. The Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke is now embarking on an African-American Study of Memory in Aging. This research study is under the direction of Dr Kathleen Welsh-Bonner, and Henry L Edmonds is the program coordinator.
Here are the criteria for participating in this study:
Here’s what will happen during that two-hour visit:
IMPORTANT HEALTH TIP:
Because of the coronavirus scare, people are becoming more aware of the importance of keeping your hands as clean as possible. Try not to use your fingertips when using public computer screens (like at the store or post office). Use your knuckles instead.
Check your symptoms
Should you be tested for coronavirus? Enter your symptoms here; if you end up being recommended for testing, you’ll get a list of the nearest testing sites by email or text.
Find the closest testing sites
Find the nearest coronavirus testing site; just so you know.
Legal Aid NC webinar
Here’s a webinar about Wills, Power of Attorney, and Living Wills. It originally aired live on the Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Facebook page.
How to convince COVID skeptics
This is a media briefing on how to work on overcoming reluctance to mask up, distance, and vaccinate by experts from Duke University.