Covid Vaccine

Novant News

Supplies are limited: 5 things to know as COVID-19 vaccine become available

Expect delays. Sign up for MyChart

Questions are rolling in now that we’ve entered the early, hectic days of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. On Jan. 6, Novant Health began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its first patients – people ages 75 and older – in keeping with the North Carolina state distribution plan.

The first thing to know: Supplies are limited. Expect delays as shipments make their way across the country. As distribution plans and details will evolve, you’ll find the latest up-to-date information at this

1. Novant Health patients for the moment, in Winston-Salem and Charlotte; open to anyone in Brunswick County

Because of limited availability, the COVID-19 vaccine is available by appointment only for Novant Health patients with a primary care provider in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte areas. There is no charge to the patient who gets the vaccine.  

In Brunswick County, community members ages 75 and older who are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine need to sign up for a MyChart account. Community members eligible at this time for a vaccination in Brunswick County will be notified through their MyChart account, through which they can then schedule their vaccination appointment. Recipients do not need to be affiliated with a specific healthcare system to sign up for MyChart or to receive a vaccination. Due to limited vaccine availability, vaccinations will be by appointment only and at a centralized location in Brunswick County.

2. Starting with ages 75+

Because supply is limited, there is a phased rollout to the public. In line with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, people 75 and older – regardless of health status or living situation – are the first community members eligible. Others – including first responders, child care and food workers, adults at increased risk of severe illness, college students and more – will become eligible as more vaccines are received. We encourage people to be patient, as it’s not yet known when future phases will become eligible for immunization.

3. Check MyChart app, or sign up to start using it

Novant Health is contacting all patients directly when it’s time to schedule an appointment. You will receive a MyChart message with next steps to get the vaccine. If you do not already have a MyChart account, please register here. This is the most efficient and easiest way to keep up-to-date.

Please note: we will open additional appointments weekly as supply allows. If an appointment is not yet available to you, we encourage you to check back for new messages on MyChart. Thank you for your patience.

A patient 75 or older who does not have access to MyChart or has not received communications can call 855-NH-VAC-4U (855-648-2248) for scheduling assistance. Patients who are 75 or older who don’t have MyChart or email access will get scheduling information by mail.

4. Starting at centralized locations

Due to limited vaccine availability, Novant Health is only vaccinating at centralized locations in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte at the moment. More sites will be added when more vaccine becomes available. 

5. Please continue masking and other precautions

While taking special safety precautions for months on end has been difficult, public health experts agree that it’s critical that we all continue to wear face masks, wash our hands frequently and social distance. This includes people who have received both doses of the vaccine. This is the best way to keep those around us safe.

Flu, Cold or Covid-19?

What’s the difference between COVID-19, flu and a cold?

What’s the difference between COVID-19, flu and a cold?

You’re feeling sick; which one do you have?

It could get confusing if you become ill this fall and winter.

COVID-19, the flu and a common cold are contagious respiratory illnesses that have similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them, based on symptoms alone.

That could make things tricky when flu season, which typically peaks in the winter, overlaps with the COVID-19 pandemic. The flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, and in general, testing is needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

While the three illnesses share several symptoms, one key thing that sets COVID-19 apart is the loss of taste and smell it causes.

Dr. Karan Shukla

“Both COVID-19 and the flu can spread before you know you have an illness, or symptoms,” said Dr. Karan Shukla, of Novant Health Randolph Family Medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. “COVID-19, though, is much more contagious among certain populations and age groups versus the flu. COVID-19 has been shown to spread quickly and is more known to have super-spreader events compared to the flu.”

The best defense against the flu is a vaccination, but it isn’t the only defense. It is important to remember that all three illnesses spread mainly through respiratory droplets. Previously, masks weren’t recommended as prevention for the flu or a cold, but the same safety measures that help limit spread of COVID-19 also work with flu and cold:

  • Wear a face mask.
  • Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet, and avoid close physical contact (like hugging or shaking hands).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Avoid commonly touched surfaces that could be contaminated.

If you get sick this fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends your first step should be to contact your primary health care provider to determine if testing should take place.

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Here are symptoms of each illness:


Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea


Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

“Getting the yearly flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu,” Shukla said. “It can reduce the risk of flu illness, the rates of hospitalizations and flu-related deaths. You should generally get the flu vaccine before the flu virus starts circulating in your community. The CDC recommends that in early fall everyone starts to get vaccinated.”

Flu vaccinations are a strong preventative tool for people with chronic health conditions, Shukla said. It can help women who are expecting and their newborn babies from getting flu. Flu vaccines have been shown to prevent and reduce the severity the illness for people who get vaccinated, but still get sick.  Getting vaccinated protects you, your family, neighbors and the people around you.


Symptoms of a cold usually peak within 2-3 days and can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mucus dripping down your throat (post-nasal drip)
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever (although most people with colds do not have fever)

Colds are usually milder than flu, according to the CDC. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. 


Novant Covid-19 Testing



Mask update No. 4: Can a mask make you sick? 

Answering your most common mask-related questions. 

By Josh Jarman

July 2, 2020

Now that wearing a face covering in public has become mandatory in North Carolina, some late adopters are starting to consider wearing a mask for the very first time.

Yolanda Enrich, FNP.

Meanwhile, some people declining to wear masks have said the requirement infringes upon personal freedom and is an example of government overreach.

Yolanda Enrich, a family nurse practitioner at Novant Health Adult Primary Care Waughtown, does not see mask wearing as a political issue, but rather, as a health and safety consideration for the good of everyone.  

“Remember, the purpose of the mask is to not only protect yourself, but to protect those around you,” Enrich said. “Even if you are asymptomatic, you can still spread the virus to others. By wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing frequent hand-washing, you are doing your part to help slow the spread and to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

What would you say to someone who believes their rights are being violated because of the masking mandate? 

Please consider wearing a mask for everyone’s safety. It’s not just about you, it’s about the public good. Wearing a mask is a direct step you can take to keep yourself and members of the community safe, particularly those who are most vulnerable and at risk.

If masks really work, then why can’t we all just wear them and get back to the gym, church and sporting events?  

Research shows that masks work well when paired with social distancing and hand-washing. Avoiding large crowds is still essential, even with a mask on, to help slow the spread.

If I’m sick with a cold, or even just allergies, can wearing a mask all day harm my own health? It can’t be good to trap all of that snot and spit in my mask and breathe it in for eight hours, right? 

No, wearing a mask will not harm your health even if you are sick with a cold or allergies. If your mask gets too moist just make sure you are changing it regularly.

The governor said kids under 11 don’t need to wear a mask. But can’t they still catch the virus? What should we do to keep our kids safe if they aren’t wearing masks? 

Yes, children can catch the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children over the age of 2 wear a mask. If your children are over the age of 2, you can have them wear a mask even if the state does not require it.

If you work in an office setting, should everyone wear a mask? And what about those in a cubical? 

Yes, employees and customers should wear masks. If working in a cubicle that allows for social distancing (6 feet) between the employee in the next cubicle, the mask is not needed. The mask should be worn when around other employees, in common areas or when walking through the office.

My adult son has autism and hates wearing a mask. Is it possible to get him a medical exemption, or what should we do? 

The North Carolina mandate issued exempts children under 11, people with medical conditions and people who are exercising and able to maintain social distancing. People who can’t wear a mask due to developmental issues are not required to wear one. 

Do I need to get an ultraviolet light to clean my masks? 

No, just follow the CDC recommendations on how to wash your mask. You can wash your face covering with your regular laundry. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering. Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry. If air drying, lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.

If I travel to a beach, should I get a COVID-19 test when I get back? 

You need to follow the CDC guidelines as some areas are designated as hot spots. You definitely need to be careful around large crowds and pay attention to any symptoms you may have.

What medical conditions are exempt from having to wear a mask? 

Cloth face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

If I have a medical condition that prevents me from being able to wear a mask and need to go into a business, do I need to get a doctor’s note? 

The state does not require individuals to provide documentation for a medical exemption and is relying on the honor system.

I know I need to wear a mask inside the store, but do I need to have it on during my walk through the parking lot? 

You need to wear a mask anytime you will not be able to stay 6 feet away from other people.

Is there a right way to wear my mask?

The mask should fit snugly and cover your nose, mouth and chin. You should also never touch the front of your mask as it might be contaminated. Instead, you should touch only the ear loops or ties on the back when putting the mask on or taking it off.

Take care to always have the same side of the mask facing outward. You don't want to go into a public place wearing a mask, take it off later, and then put it back on with the front now pressing on your face. Always keep the "clean" side in. And you should also wash your hands before and after use.

For answers to more of your questions on masking and how they keep us safe click here.


Sweaty Face Mask? 5 Tips to Keep Cool While Covered Up

Staying safe and comfortable as temperatures rise

woman exercising outside at the park while wearing a mask



With health authorities continuing to urge face-covering in public to curb the spread of COVID-19, we've become familiar with the minor irritants of wearing masks: chafed ears, foggy glasses, snapped straps. The arrival of summer takes the potential discomfort up a notch, trapping sweat and heat under our facial sheaths.

"As physicians, when we are wearing masks for long periods of time, for example in surgery or during a procedure, you'll notice we keep the rooms what patients call ‘uncomfortably cold,'” says Gregory Poland, a physician and vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic. “There's a reason for that."

Keeping your face covered when venturing outside the home remains a crucial weapon in the fight against the coronavirus, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and mandated by some state and local governments.

Fortunately, there are ways to stay cool or, at least, cooler while masked up. Here are five tips from experts for more comfortably keeping your respiratory droplets in check.


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1. Choose the right fabric

A light, breathable material like cotton will likely keep your face cooler than medical and N95 masks made from synthetic materials, and in the right configuration can be effective in preventing contagion, according to new research by Taher Saif, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois.

Saif's team tested 10 common fabrics, from 100 percent cotton to polyester and silk blends, to see which best balance comfort and droplet-blocking impermeability. The “sweet spot,” he says, is a two-layer mask made from a cotton T-shirt, which comes close to matching a surgical mask's efficiency in stopping potentially infectious droplets from coughs and sneezes and is about twice as breathable.

All-cotton tested best, but up to 40 percent polyester will do the job, Saif says. “I'm not a cloth expert. I just buy things from Walmart and Target,” he adds with a laugh. “Our study showed that if you have these layers on top of your mouth and nose, you don't have to have an official mask where it goes with the elastic behind your ears. You can just wrap it around your nose and mouth, like a bandana.”

Lighter, softer cotton coverings can also help you avoid chafing, heat rash or inflaming a skin condition like eczema or dermatitis, says Carrie Kovarik, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology's COVID-19 task force.

"They make masks out of a lot of different material, so you want to feel it and make sure it's something that feels soft against your skin,” she says. “A lot of people are making masks for fashion, they want it to look nice and pretty on the face, but make sure it feels good."

2. Keep it dry

Cotton traps less air and moisture than standard medical and industrial masks, and it's more absorbent, but if it gets damp due to breathing and sweating it can be less effective in filtering respiratory particles, not to mention uncomfortable and abrasive to the skin.

"Try to stay in well-ventilated locations to keep air and vapor mixing, which can help evaporate any extra water (and also keep the rest of your skin/body feeling cooler),” says Jennifer Vanos, a biometeorologist at Arizona State University who studies the effects of heat on health.

Vanos also suggests trying masks made of especially absorbent materials like bamboo, which “can absorb up to three times the amount of water as cotton.” Hemp also wicks moisture well, and washable hemp-blend masks are widely available online, although like bamboo they tend to cost more than cotton face coverings.

3. Time trips to beat the heat

Avoid going out at the hottest parts of the day and for extended periods. Stop at home between errands if you can, to cool off and doff your mask. When you do have to be out, stay well-hydrated and seek the shade.

Being cognizant of the heat is about much more than keeping your mask fresh. “We have major issues every summer with heat exhaustion and heat stroke and heat-related deaths,” the Mayo Clinic's Poland says, and older adults are “definitely at increased risk."

An ice pack or damp cloth applied to the head or neck can help you cool off — just take care not to get your mask wet or touch your face. Poland notes other heat hacks he's observed traveling in parts of Asia where mask-wearing has long been routine.

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"They more often carry a hand-powered fan or small, battery-powered fan,” he says. That trick comes with a caveat — if you are “around a lot of people's exhalation, you're just fanning that air at yourself” — but with sufficient social distancing you may be able to use a fan to stay comfy while still protecting yourself.

"The other thing you see a lot of people doing in Asian countries during the summer is shading themselves with an umbrella,” Poland says. “Turns out that things like that actually do help."

4. Skip the makeup

Heat and perspiration mixed with makeup or oily skin care products makes for a gunky mess under your mask. “You don't have the ability to have sweat evaporate when you have the mask on. It all sits there and collects,” says Kovarik, the dermatology professor. That clogs pores and contributes to the lower-face skin eruptions that have been dubbed “maskne,” a combination of the words mask and acne.

Kovarik recommends masking up with your face clean, save perhaps for a bit of moisturizer (preferably with some SPF, if you plan to be out long). “Creams that have dimethicone in them are a good moisturizer but also is a barrier cream, so it creates some protection between your skin and the mask,” she says. “It will actually create a barrier to the friction."

Another change to make to your skin care regimen: Avoid products with retinoids or salicylic acid, which some older people use to diminish wrinkles or sun damage.

"Those can be very, very irritating if used under occlusion or under some kind of covering. We don't want to put them under the mask,” Kovarik says. “If [people] are using those products, it's better to put them on at night and then wash your face in the morning."

5. Bring a spare

If you can't keep your mask from getting icky and sticky, there's no better remedy than swapping it for another. “I recommend people do that anyway,” whatever the weather, Poland says. “When you're outside with the mask on, that mask has a limited lifespan."

On especially hot and humid days, pack multiple masks, recommends Vanos, the heat expert. Just make sure to follow the other CDC safety recommendations when changing masks, like avoiding crowds and washing or sanitizing your hands.

"If you really need to remove it to cool off, move away from people, cool off, maybe switch the mask to a new one, and then go back,” Vanos says.

COVID-19 Screening & Testing


atrium big bus

To schedule an appointment with Atrium Health, call your Atrium Health primary care office. Don’t have a doctor? Call 704.468.888 or  704-468-8888 or request an appointment online.

Novant Health
also is offering screening and testing. First, If you are concerned about coronavirus symptoms and don't have a primary care doctor, call the Novant Health helpline to determine your next steps at 877.9NOVANT. In East and West Charlotte at the following Novant Health Centers:
East Charlotte, 5501 Executive Center Drive, Screenings, 8am-noon

    • East Charlotte, 5501 Executive Center Drive, 8am-noon
    • Freedom Drive, 3149 Freedom Drive, Respiratory Assessments, 8am-2pm
    • Novant Health GoHealth Urgent Care Centers, Weekends & Evenings


Covid-19 Screening @ FBC-West

coronavirus testing

Screened: 164
Tested: 53
Social Worker Consultations: 9
Advanced Practice Provider Consult.: 35
Language Interpretation: 1
Click Here For Pictures


N95 Mask Giveaway


Shout Out to John and Beverly Harrell for providing N95 Masks
for free distribution to our members.

Marriage Ministry

marriage ministry



Through a partnership with WSOC-TV & Red Lobster, we were able to serve meals to over 100 persons just as the Covid-19 quarantine was starting. Thanks WSOC-TV & Red Lobster! Click Here for photos.



blood drive


Of those 21, 18 were eligible to give. That gave us 18 units of blood
and each unit helps three people. That means you helped 54 patients!

Thanks to FBC-W Members & The Community!
CLICK HERE for more photos.


Letter From Dr. Woods


March 23, 2020

Dear Fellow Members

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord. It has been a long time since I have communicated with you by letter but I feel moved to do so in these present times. The COVIAN-19 crisis has impacted our entire country and 144 nations around the world. The church has not been immune to the effects of the virus. Our leadership made a decision early in the process to put the health and well-being of people above every other consideration. To that end we have cancelled all public worship services until further notice.

We are committed to following the directions of public health officials on social distancing and limiting all in-person meetings and gatherings at First Baptist Church–West. Note that effective Thursday, March 25, the church office is closed and all Wednesday Bible Studies are cancelled. However, each Wednesday evening we are taping a worship service that will be available on the church website each week. Last Sunday 230 persons viewed the online sermon and 320 views have been registered to date. The church website is I encourage you to visit the website routinely for updated information.

Starting Tuesday, March 31, we will provide a call-in conference line for weekly devotion and prayer that will last 10-15 minutes. The call number is (205) 825-9633 with no passcode needed. The call will take place at 8:15 am each Tuesday morning.

We are examining other ways to use technology as a means to stay connected as a church family and continue the work that God has given us. The church leadership is meeting by conference call each week to ensure that the church is able to meet its debt obligations and remain vibrant in these trying times.

Although we are unable to meet for public worship, I encourage you to still pray for the church and support the church with your tithes and offerings. You are able to give by mailing your contributions to the church, bringing your gifts and placing them in the mailbox near the glass doors and finally giving online at Your gifts are vital at this moment as we seek to not only meet our needs but support efforts in the community that assist our neighbors.

This is the time when we need the spirit of the Good Samaritan and to be the neighbor we can be and bear witness to our faith. I have always been proud and honored to serve as your pastor and I am certain that you are up to the challenge before us. So let us rise up and go to the work before us because of Him who strengthens us and has promised to be with us always.

Because of Grace,
Dr Ricky A. Woods
Senior Minster