After years of underfunding under a Republican-led legislature, local public health departments are under stress as they work tirelessly to fight the coronavirus pandemic without the necessary infrastructure to do their jobs.
The News & Observer reported Tuesday that from 2010 to 2018, while North Carolina Republicans were in charge of the legislature, state public health spending declined by more than 27 percent.
Analysis shows a grim picture:
- This spending drop is “even steeper than the national slide of 16% across all states.”
- In 2018, this spending amounted to just $72 per person.
- In 2018, North Carolina spent only 78 percent of the national average per person; in 2010, NC spent near the national average.
This “long pattern of eroding resources” has left health care workers “without the infrastructure they need” and taken a toll on county health departments. Pitt County Health Director John Morrow said: “Many of them have been going hard, working weekends and evenings, since March without a break. They’re extremely stressed. They’re worried about their families, their home life, their coworkers. They’re doing outstanding work. But it’s a challenge, month after month, to continue to go at that pace.”
Read the full article here.