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COVID-19 Response in Western North
Carolina

Single white dogwood flower with green leaves poking out form behind,

Looking for Vaccines? See MAHEC locations in the box at right.

Dogwood Health Trust has received many questions about what we are doing to get vaccines to the community. Although we are not a healthcare provider and cannot order or administer vaccines, we are busy supporting regional community partners who are helping share the latest information and coordinate the most effective, efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across Western North Carolina. 

We value our role as a convenor for the Vaccine Acceleration Consortium, an entity bringing hospitals, county health departments, health centers and others together to effectively coordinate the use of vaccines so that our region continues to get more as they become available. We also support organizations like MAHEC, Blue Ridge Health and the WNC Health Network with their vaccine efforts across the region.

Woman with face mask pointing to a band aid over her upper arm where a Covid-19 vaccine was administered.

Image provided by the Western North Carolina Health Network.

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC logo
MAHEC offers vaccine clinics at various locations for children and adults. Check here for the operating schedule.
 

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) has partnered with several locations to provide vaccine clinics to health workers and those over age 65. Dogwood supported MAHEC’s efforts to recruit, train and deploy 11 new Community Health Workers throughout the region. Community Health Workers play a key role by working directly in communities to build relationships and provide honest, accurate, and culturally responsive information. We also are supporting a regional COVID vaccine coordinator at MAHEC who will handle regional coordination and support planning and logistics for effective vaccine delivery

Blue Ridge Health offers vaccine access to rural areas through its mobile outreach vans. But lack of broadband connections in many rural places makes for a slower vaccine process. Dogwood helped provide WiFi hotspots for the mobile outreach vans to ensure better connectivity during the vaccine process.

For the past several months, the WNC Health Network has worked with health departments to spread the word about safe COVID-19 behaviors via Facebook and other social media. With support from Dogwood, WNCHN has expanded that customized messaging campaign across all 18 counties and included new messaging about vaccine safety to encourage more residents to get their shot when the opportunity arrives. In addition, the WNC Health Network has created a Partner Toolkit of easy-to-use vaccine messages that any community organization is welcome to share.

Vaccine Resources

North Carolina DHHS logo with NC State seal.

To learn more about vaccine safety and get information about your vaccine group, visit the state’s web page.

If you know you’re currently eligible to receive a vaccine, click here to find a vaccine location near you.

Need COVID-19 Testing?

Community Lab, a Division of Sanesco Health logo

Dogwood’s partner, CommunityLab WNC offers regular testing appointments with online registration.

Medical staff preparing Covid-19 vaccine dose

Dogwood’s COVID-19 Response

Dogwood Health Trust has invested more than $10 million since the spring of 2020 to support the health and safety of Western North Carolina residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our initial focus was on mitigating the impact of the virus by securing testing and PPE supplies, sharing region-wide messaging promoting safe behaviors and providing direct financial support for nonprofits, schools and governments working to help those affected by mandatory shutdowns. In 2021, as vaccines became available, we pivoted to focus on supporting collaborations to effectively and efficiently deploy vaccine resources, on the broad dissemination of targeted messaging to help increase the number of people choosing to get vaccinated and on pandemic recovery.

Highlights

2020

  • Distributed thousands of COVID-19 test kits
  • Funded COVID-19 testing events in BIPOC communities
  • Launched region-wide multi-media messaging campaigns
  • Created a dedicated COVID-19 testing lab for WNC
  • Sourced and distributed $3 million worth of PPE
  • Purchased cellular wi-fi hotspots for rural schools, teachers and seniors
  • Provided raw food and prepared meals for thousands
  • Co-invested in the emergency response funds of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and Buncombe County 
  • Purchased additional laptops for United Way’s 211 system to handle increased volume
  • Provided more than $20 million in bridge funding to help small businesses across the region access PPP and Rapid Recovery loans

2021

  • Convening the WNC Vaccine Acceleration Consortium to ensure the most efficient and effective deployment of vaccinations in our region
  • Facilitating region-wide deployment and sharing of resources: vaccines, people, equipment, etc. 
  • Collaborating with state and federal efforts, including FEMA
  • Supporting direct outreach and education to marginalized and vaccine-hesitant communities
  • Underwriting a region-wide social media campaign, “My Reason WNC,” customized for individual counties, encouraging vaccinations and COVID-safe behaviors
  • Co-funding, with CFWNC, vaccine sites focused on underserved populations 
  • Supported a wastewater early detection pilot in Jackson and Haywood counties
  • Funded a centralized vaccine volunteer coordination effort
  • Increased the number of Community Health Workers in our region
  • Helping to educate provider practices to become vaccination sites
Woman in mask and sunglasses holds up water bottle with a candy skull sticker.
Female volunteer with facemask and clip board standing next to a car with window down and two people inside.
Elementary student with a mask on at school
Woman at the grocery store with as florally mask on
Volunteer passing off a bag of face masks to another volunteer at a pop up tent.

Stories of

Courage and Compassion

Dogwood provided multiple PPE Grants to Hola Carolina to distribute masks, sanitizer, and other PPE to hotspot counties for the Hispanic and Latino communities. Hola also partnered with Dogwood and Blue Ridge Health to host COVID-19 testing events.

holacarolina.org

Asheville Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement (ABIPA) used PPE grants from Dogwood to distribute masks, sanitizer, and other PPE to hotspot counties for the African American community.

abipaasheville.wixsite.com/abipa

PPE grants to BeLoved Asheville distributed masks & sanitizer to communities of color.

belovedasheville.com

County “strike teams” coordinated responses to outbreaks in senior living facilities, minimizing the likelihood of further transmission and coordinating a multi-agency response. 

 

With an investment from Dogwood, Kitsbow Cycling Apparel in Old Fort was one of the first area companies to switch from regular production to mask production.

kitsbow.com

WNC Communities distributed thousands of pounds of food to help prevent hunger in the face of lost or reduced incomes during COVID-19. 

wnccommunities.org

When WNC’s first COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Brasstown, the health department used testing secured by Dogwood to conduct contact tracing and contain viral transmission in the community.

PARTNER PROFILE

Hola Carolina

Through its flagship publication, Hola Carolina magazine, the organization shares critical information and news for Spanish-speaking communities in ten WNC counties. Hola also operates programs that celebrate cultural diversity with educational and outreach activities through Hola Community Arts.

3 female volunteers from Hola Carolina holding up colorful reusable grocery bags while wearing masks at a pop up tent event.
The Romero family portrait

PARTNER PROFILE

Sanesco Health

A family-owned company headquartered in Arden, Sanesco has been providing lab services to roughly 900 physician practices and distributors across the United States and Canada for 15 years. “When we arrived to Asheville for the very first time, there was an immediate connection”

PARTNER PROFILE

WNC Health Network

WNC Health Network values building capacity, supporting connections and using human-centered approaches. The organization is committed to developing processes that meaningfully engage their customers’ communities and partners – particularly those most impacted by the health issue at hand.