In Cumberland County, 186 New Cases, Additional Food Benefits For Children

Sep 29, 2020

The Department of Public Health reports 186 new COVID-19 cases since the Friday, Sept. 25, report. Cumberland County’s case count is now 5,515 with 79 deaths.

Cumberland County’s daily average of positive cases is 62.1 with 7.8% of those tested returning positive for COVID-19.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently added information about antigen testing to the COVID-19 NC Dashboard, including positive COVID-19 cases and deaths diagnosed with an antigen test and the number of antigen tests completed daily.

Of the 5,515 total cases in Cumberland County, the COVID-19 NC Dashboard reports 5,488 molecular (PCR) positive cases and 27 antigen positive cases.

Molecular (PCR) and antigen tests are used to diagnose COVID-19, meaning that they look to see if someone is currently infected with COVID-19. Each test looks for something different to determine if someone is infected. A molecular (PCR) test looks for the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Molecular (PCR) tests are processed in a laboratory. Antigen tests are often processed at the point of care, such as in a health care provider’s office. People are only counted as a case once, even if they have multiple positive tests.

NCDHHS is able to add information on antigen testing due to improved reporting processes. Reporting on antigen tests has been challenging, as antigen tests are typically administered at the point of care such as a clinician’s office. To date, there have been far fewer cases diagnosed by antigen tests than by molecular (PCR) tests in North Carolina. However, antigen testing is expanding in various point-of-care settings, such as nursing homes and health care provider offices.

P-EBT Program Extends for Fall 2020
The Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, a collaboration between the NCDHHS and the NC Department of Public Instruction, helps families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-priced meals at school has been impacted by COVID-19. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores.

Under the new federal guidelines, families that received P-EBT benefits in the spring may not be eligible to receive the benefit this fall.

In the P-EBT program this fall, children are eligible if they had access to free or reduced-priced meals at school last year, their school district or charter school is eligible to provide free or reduce-priced meals at school this year, and their school district or charter school utilized virtual learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between August 17 and September 30.

This is different than the eligibility criteria for P-EBT benefits in the spring, which was available to all children who normally access free or reduced-priced meals, regardless of school circumstance. The new eligibility criteria are based on guidance from the US Department of Agriculture. Review this information to see whether a school district or charter school is receiving fall P-EBT benefits.

Families do not need to apply for P-EBT. Eligible families already receiving Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will receive an additional benefit on their existing EBT card. Families who received P-EBT in the spring and are eligible under the new criteria will receive additional benefit on their original P-EBT card. Eligible families who do not have an FNS or P-EBT card will be mailed a card. Families being mailed a new card will receive the card by mid-October.

Staying Updated
Cumberland County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes. The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

This press release was produced by Cumberland County. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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