Dr. Cohen to leave health department + What to know about omicron in NC

·3 min read

It’s Tuesday, folks, and this is Kristen. But it’s not just any Tuesday — it’s Giving Tuesday. Take a moment to read this roundup from the Observer’s Lauren Lindstrom of local groups taking donations for affordable housing causes. After you help out those causes, consider donating to us as well if you’d like to support our coverage. We appreciate it!

Now, let’s get into today’s headlines:

1. Mandy Cohen, the face of North Carolina’s COVID response, to leave health department

Secretary of the NC Department Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen speaks during a briefing on North CarolinaÕs coronavirus pandemic response Thursday, March. 25, 2021 at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh.
Secretary of the NC Department Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen speaks during a briefing on North CarolinaÕs coronavirus pandemic response Thursday, March. 25, 2021 at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, is stepping down from her job. She was heavily involved in the state’s coronavirus pandemic response.

Gov. Roy Cooper will name Kody Kinsley, who currently serves as chief deputy secretary of the department, as Cohen’s replacement. Kinsley will start Jan. 1.

Cohen has not said what’s next.

Read more about her upcoming departure with the News & Observer’s Lucille Sherman and Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, and learn more on Kinsley with Avi Bajpai.

2. Here’s what NC doctor says you need to know about COVID omicron variant, vaccines

A new variant of COVID-19 is causing concern around the world, but one North Carolina doctor says there’s no need to panic now.

The new mutation, called omicron, “raises some concern,” Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist infectious disease expert Dr. Christopher Ohl said, and North Carolinians should continue wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know a heck of a lot more than that right now. It’s going to take some time for figure out what all this means,” Ohl said.

Note: no cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been reported yet in the U.S.

Some experts worry that omicron could be resistant to the existing vaccine. However, it’s unlikely that the omicron variant will be completely resistant, Ohl said.

Learn more information and find out where you can get your COVID vaccine and booster in the area here with the Observer’s Hannah Smoot.

3. What’s going on in Panthers news today?

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule rubs his face as he walks across the field to check on safety Jeremy Chinn after he was injured during action against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Sunday, November 28, 2021. The Dolphins defeated the Panthers 33-10.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule rubs his face as he walks across the field to check on safety Jeremy Chinn after he was injured during action against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Sunday, November 28, 2021. The Dolphins defeated the Panthers 33-10.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule addresses Cam Newton starting, potential staff changes by Scott Fowler

  • Rhule said Monday that Newton would almost certainly start Dec. 12 against Atlanta, but everything about his team is currently “on the table.”

Panthers’ Matt Rhule a hot name for open college coaching jobs at Oklahoma, Notre Dame by Alex Andrejev

  • With Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame and Lincoln Riley out at Oklahoma, two major head coaching positions are open.

4. More stories from around the state

Charlotte almost got $20M for roads. Then NC lawmakers cut millions by Will Wright

  • Millions of dollars for road improvements were set to come to Charlotte. That didn’t happen. Why?

U.S. Senate hopeful Cheri Beasley picks up endorsement as Erica Smith leaves race by Will Wright

  • Beasley, a former NC Supreme Court chief justice, is against state Sen. Jeff Jackson for the Democratic nomination.

5. Snack time

Romeo’s Vegan Burgers, popular among a crowd of Charlotte vegan food trucks, is opening a brick-and-mortar.

Co-owners Lamont Fox and Tigo B announced on Instagram that they were opening one of the first vegan drive-thrus in the Southeast.

“Not only will you be able to sit down and enjoy some of the delicious vegan items we have on our menu, you’ll also be able to swing thru our drive thru and grab a bite to eat if you’re in a hurry!” they said.

Get the tasty details here with CharlotteFive’s Heidi Finley.

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