New Hanover County selected for pilot program to develop digital tool for COVID-19 reopening

Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:13 PM EST
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WECT) - A program to develop a community confidence tool that will guide leaders making decisions about COVID-19 reopening has been funded by a grant from the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, as part of the 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act.

New Hanover County is one of seven North Carolina counties involved in the initial pilot program, selected based on its diversity with respect to factors like overall health outcomes, geography, prosperity zones, population density, and number of COVID-19 cases.

“We are excited to be able to work with DHIT to develop this much-needed utility to enable business owners and county administrators to make evidence-based decisions to safeguard the health of their employees and communities,” said Jeffrey Warren, Executive Director of the NC Policy Collaboratory.

Researchers will analyze huge amounts of national and regional data, including health, labor, economic, occupational, environmental, and other consumer behavior, to create a dashboard that will offer users a way to simulate the impact of applying evidence-based recommendations.

“We are in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic with no clear strategy to successfully reopen our economy without risking the destruction of the health of our communities,” said DHIT President Michael Levy. “... More reliable, local data-driven guidance is critical to allow the safe and successful reopening of businesses, schools, religious institutions and other parts of our communities.”

If successful, the platform will be extended to additional NC counties and ultimately, other states.

The grant was awarded to the Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) to research, validate and build a digital simulation platform and recommendation engine that will provide business owners and community stakeholders with real-time intelligence to help them make informed decisions.

DHIT will be working in collaboration with the Institute for Convergent Sciences, Innovate Carolina at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the NC Chamber Foundation, among others.

Click here for more information about community confidence tools or if you are a business or organization within the pilot program county interested in being a beta tester for this initiative.-

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