NC News, Dec. 30, 2012

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

More NC hospitals halt visitors in flu outbreak

RALEIGH (AP) — More hospitals in North Carolina are restricting visitors in an effort to stop the spread of the flu.

Starting Monday, visitors under age 18 won’t be allowed to see patients at WakeMed without a doctor’s permission.

Hospitals including Duke University Health System, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst have already put similar restrictions in place.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says flu activity in the state is at the highest level recorded in the past decade. There have been 14 flu-related deaths since early October, with 11 of those deaths in patients age 65 and older.

Only nine people died in North Carolina during the 2011 flu season.


Hagan Helps Pass Bipartisan Bill to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kay Hagan today praised Senate passage of legislation that supports relief efforts in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill includes funding to repair damages to North Carolina’s inlets, waterways, roads and bridges, and to provide disaster assistance loans to small businesses. The Senate passed similar legislation after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and after Hurricane Irene last year to ensure affected states have the funding needed to recover.

“While our state may not have received the very worst of Hurricane Sandy, areas in northeastern North Carolina are still hurting,” said Hagan. “This bill provides crucial resources to ensure that the affected communities can repair damaged infrastructure and keep our inlets and waterways open to commercial fishing boats, shipping vessels and ferries that carry residents and visitors on and off our barrier islands. I am committed to ensuring our communities, families and businesses have the support they need to recover as quickly as possible after this – and every – storm.”

The bill must pass the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law and enacted.

Highlights for North Carolina

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified $30 million in damages to North Carolina caused by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter. The projects to repair these damages would be eligible to receive funding through the Army Corps under the Senate bill.

North Carolina roads and bridges sustained $8 million in damages from Hurricane Sandy. The state has received a $4 million reimbursement from the Emergency Relief Fund. The Senate bill provide additional funding for the Emergency Relief Fund to ensure states like North Carolina can continue to be compensated for repairs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a disaster declaration in North Carolina for Dare, Currituck, Hyde and Tyrell Counties. The Hurricane Sandy Supplemental billincludes an additional $500 million in disaster relief loans through the SBA. These loans can go to homeowners, businesses and non-profits in states affected.

Earlier this month, Hagan joined her colleagues on the Senate Small Business Committee in outlining ways the SBA could improve its disaster programs to assist small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy.


2 teens, 12-year-old charged in Durham slaying

DURHAM (AP) — Two teenagers and a 12-year-old girl have been charged in the shooting death of a Durham man during a carjacking.

Investigators say the three approached 35-year-old Johnny Danilo Villatoro on Friday night and asked him for a ride before carjacking and shooting him. Authorities found Villatoro lying in the street, and he later died at a hospital.

Police say the 12-year-old suspect accidentally shot herself in the stomach and leg while inside Villatoro’s car. She was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries and was expected to survive.

The 12-year-old and two teens, ages 14 and 16, are being charged with murder. It wasn’t known if any of them had attorneys or when they would appear in court.


BESSEMER CITY (AP) — A toddler from Bessemer City has been hospitalized after he was shot in the arm.

Gaston County EMS officials were called to a home just after 8 p.m. Friday after getting a call that a child had been shot in the left arm. The 18-month-old boy was taken to a hospital, and there was no update on his condition.

Investigators say they think the shooting was an accident. Police say the boy was home with his father and a sibling when the shooting happened.

Authorities have not said who owned the gun that was used.