Over the past year and eight months, the state of North Carolina has been frantically communicating with the residents of the state in many, many ways. 

State officials have used everything from social media and press releases to constant press conferences and flyers posted on the walls of churches.  On Friday, Sept. 30, the state added another method of communication made famous by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who delivered his first fireside chat – one pertaining to the Emergency Banking Act – on March 12, 1933.

Roosevelt’s fireside chats consisted of evening radio addresses, but the new COVID-19 North Carolina versions will be a little different.  They’ll stream live –  from the North Carolina Department of  Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in Raleigh – through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  

The first chat, which is also accessible by phone at (855) 756-7520 (Extension 75920#), was on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m.  It was a live fireside chat and “tele-town hall” on NC Medicaid and COVID-19 testing, treatment, prevention, as well as COVID-19 vaccines.

With a high temperature of nearly 80 degrees in Raleigh on Friday, it wasn’t really great weather for starting fires, but state leaders are concerned about the spread of the virus, so they held this before the end of September.

 It’s not clear if this will become a regular tool in the state’s communications toolbox.

The chat was hosted by NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, and the panelists included NC Medicaid’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shannon Dowler and NC Medicaid’s Associate Medical Director Dr. Janelle White.

WPTF 680AM program director Rick Martinez moderated the chat.

This and other NCDHHS live-series events are part of the state’s ongoing public education initiative that’s meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

More information on the chat and other info on the virus and vaccines can be found at MySpot.nc.gov.