North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper listens to Dr. Mandy Cohen

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (right) listens to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, during a news briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C.

(The Center Square) – North Carolina will offer welfare to residents who have to quarantine because of COVID-19, state officials announced Friday.

The North Carolina Department of Human Health Services ( NCDHHS) plans to cover the costs of food, medicine, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and transportation and offer one-time payments to residents under isolation.

“When people are asked by a health care professional to quarantine or isolate, many can’t do that without some extra support,” Dr. Mandy Cohen,  NCDHHS secretary, said in a statement. “This innovative program will help people safely isolate and help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our hardest-hit rural and underserved communities.”

The program, called the Innovative COVID-19 Support Service Program, will launch Aug. 14 and continue through the end of the year. The state will use $17 million provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Support (Cares) Act to fund the program.

The support services will be available in early September to people who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications, those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, awaiting test results, or have been exposed to it, given the approval of a medical professional.

“Quarantine is a critical part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, but we can’t ignore the strain it puts on people’s everyday lives,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “This program will ease the burden of isolation for North Carolinians in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this virus.”

The department has made an open call for regional partners to help with invoicing, reimbursement and coordinating the services.

So far, NCDHHS has selected four potential regions for the program.

Region 1 includes Rowan, Stanly, Montgomery, Randolph, Chatham and Lee counties. Region 2 consists of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties. Region 3 is Durham, Granville and Vance counties. Region 4 includes Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Duplin, Wayne, Johnston, Wilson and Greene counties.

The final target areas will be based on the availability of support staff in the region.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.