CDC

Earlier this month, when the Trump administration told hospitals to send crucial data about coronavirus cases and intensive care capacity to a new online system, it promised the change would be worth it. The data would be more complete and transparent and an improvement over the old platform run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, administration officials said.

Instead, the public data hub created under the new system is updated erratically and is rife with inconsistencies and errors, data analysts say.

As Economies Reopen, Former CDC Director Says Rural Americans At Higher Risk

May 27, 2020
Caitlin Tan / WVPB

As businesses in communities across Appalachia – and across the country – begin to reopen, Richard Besser has been vocal about the measures he feels should be met to counter the spread of COVID-19, most particularly, the disproportionate effect reopening too soon will have on underserved and marginalized communities.

Besser served as acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Pres. Barack Obama and is now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RWJF is the largest private institution in the country devoted solely to improving the nation’s health.

Besser is concerned about the challenges rural communities faced before and that are now more critical in the midst of the pandemic. He also worries that the pandemic is being “hyper-politicized.” 

West Virginia Mask Army

Across the country, medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic are struggling to get their hands on protective gear – things as basic as goggles, gloves and masks – and without federal assistance, groups of West Virginians are handmaking face masks at their own expense.


A view of the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, which is part of the Monongahela National Forest in eastern West VIrginia.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The largest national forest in West Virginia announced Wednesday it is shutting down its campgrounds in an attempt to encourage people to social distance.

The Monongahela National Forest has closed all of its 24 developed campgrounds and campsites effective immediately. 


Adobe Stock

A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month found a 264 percent increase in overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, tramadol, and Demerol between 2012 and 2015.

Experts think the spike is likely related to illicitly manufactured drugs, particularly fentanyl, which is often cut with heroin or cocaine, rather than pharmaceutically manufactured synthetic opioids. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.


Adobe Stock

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday that starting in January, doctors who prescribe pain pills will be required to follow federal prescribing guidelines. 

The move was made in an attempt to lower state overuse and abuse rates. According to Rahul Gupta, the West Virginia state health officer and the commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia has the highest rate of prescription opioids per capita in the nation. 

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Federal and state health agencies are surveying households in two counties to assess the impact of the recent flooding on communities in southern West Virginia.

The survey uses a standardized questionnaire to evaluate the physical and behavioral health of a household. It also assesses residents’ knowledge of access to information and resources for recovery.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors, narcotics
Dollar Photo Club

Unintentional fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased by almost six-fold in one year, beginning in 2013. Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, analyzed available data to assess risk factors for overdose.

Yesterday, the CDC released a report that found the “risk factors for fentanyl-related overdose deaths included: male gender, white race, some college or less education, history of a substance abuse problem, and a
current mental health issue.”

CDC Issues New Guidelines for Opioid Prescriptions

Mar 16, 2016
oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press file photo

As the rates of drug abuse--and more directly opioid abuse--continue to grow in West Virginia, new federal guidelines could help cut down on the number of prescribed opioids.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidelines for doctors who prescribe opioids for chronic pain. The guidelines advise primary care doctors to cut down on the number of prescriptions of medicines like OxyContin and Percocet and try to find other means to treat the pain—pushing them to look toward more holistic care methods. The guidelines aren’t intended for doctors treating cancer patients or for end-of-life care.

Dollar Photo Club

West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have issued advisories for the Zika virus, urging caution, particularly for pregnant women traveling to areas where the disease is circulating.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

Google colorectal cancer survival rates and a rather shocking American Cancer Society chart pops up.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

The most common way children are exposed to lead these days is from the lead-based paint almost universally found in homes built before 1980. (Lead-based paint was outlawed in the late ’70s.)

When the paint deteriorates and chips, it causes dust particles that can be inhaled or even eaten (think slobbery teething toy belonging to a 10-month-old on the floor next to an old baseboard covered in lead-based paint).

Scott Laney / CDC

The week a healthcare worker in West Virginia completes his 21-day monitoring period after a month in Liberia.