21 COVID-19 Cases In New Hanover County: New Restriction To Start Monday

21 COVID-19 Cases In New Hanover County: New Restriction To Start Monday

21 COVID-19 Cases In New Hanover County: New Restriction To Start Monday Featured

By / Local News / Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:35

NEW HANOVER CTY - New Hanover County Public Health officials are investigating six new positive cases of COVID-19 that appear to be travel related. This brings the county’s total positive case count to 21.

The individuals are isolated, and Public Health is working on contact tracing to determine those who have been in close contact with them.

As of 6 p.m. on March 27 there are 546 test samples reported to the county. Of those, 21 have been confirmed positive, 227 have been confirmed negative and 298 are still pending.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the State will no longer require the notification of pending COVID-19 testing information to local public health departments. Local public health departments will continue to receive notification of positive test results. This will change the way New Hanover County Public Health reports on testing data, and only positive results will be shared moving forward.

On Friday, March 27, Governor Roy Cooper signed a Stay at Home Executive Order for the entire state of North Carolina, beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30.

New Hanover County, in collaboration with the City of Wilmington and the towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, will be implementing additional county-wide restrictions that support the Governor’s statewide order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent our healthcare system from becoming overburdened in the weeks to come. 

New Hanover County’s order, which can be viewed in full here, will take effect Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. In the case that there is a restriction from both the Governor and New Hanover County, the more restrictive order will be in effect.

“Staying at home is one of the best ways we can protect our community right now,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “I appreciate the mayors of our municipalities for joining me and the county in this effort. This is not an easy decision, but these additional measures are based on evidence and advice of our Public Health experts. We know that these will be short-term inconveniences that will impact our residents and our economy; but it’s important that we act and take this seriously in order to protect the health of our entire community.”

The Governor’s Executive Order can be viewed here, and outlines that residents should stay home and away from others who are not immediate members of their family or household. Under the order, residents can only travel for essential functions like a job or for food, medicine, outdoor exercise, or to help someone in need. Public transportation should only be used if necessary. The order allows for essential services to continue with social distancing measures in place. It also bans gatherings of more than 10 people and requires people to stay six feet apart, both of which are already part of the county’s State of Emergency declaration order from March 20, 2020. More details are available in this press release and FAQ.


“The Governor’s Order is very comprehensive, but we wanted to take a step further to supplement restrictions specific for our community’s features like water and density,” said Olson-Boseman.
New Hanover County’s additional restrictions incorporate the Governor’s Order, and also include the following closures for at least 14 days, beginning Monday, March 30:
• Closure of playgrounds, team sport facilities, and public gardens. 
• Closure of all public amusement places (whether publicly or privately owned or operated) where people may gather, indoors or outdoors. This includes children’s play centers, recreation centers, country clubs, social clubs, and more. Golf courses are restricted to allowing walking golfers or one golfer per cart to maintain social distance requirements.
• Closure of non-essential retail, including indoor or outdoor shopping malls, and retail facilities that that do not provide goods that are essential for health, sustenance, shelter, mobility, and hygiene. Delivery and curb-side service at all retail establishments may be continued. This restriction does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware and building supply stores, or gas stations.  
• Closure of specific merchants, specifically: auto dealerships, boat dealerships and other motor vehicle sales points (not including repair or maintenance services), hotels, motels, and short-term lodging (except as allowed by a governmental request to assist with the emergency response to Coronavirus), retail or “captain” stores situated at marinas.
• Closure of inside carry-out food service that requires the customer to enter the interior of the merchant’s facility.  Delivery, drive-through and curb-side food service is allowed. 

For additional information about this local order, view a county FAQ here. This New Hanover County order will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on April 13, unless otherwise re-evaluated or extended.

If a business type is not listed in the county’s restrictions specifically and are not limited in the Governor’s Order, they can continue. For example, plumbers, electricians, exterminators and others who help maintain the safety and sanitation of residences can continue. Visiting a local park, greenway or nature preserve while practicing social distancing can continue. 

Businesses excluded from the list of COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations in the Governor’s Executive Order who believe that they may be essential, should direct requests to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. New Hanover County will not provide any permits or credentialing for businesses or employees who are traveling to work to be identified as essential. 

“Public Health has been working with our partners, the hospital, and the state to understand the impacts, the needs, and the clinical assessment surrounding COVID-19,” said Public Health Personal Health Services Manager Carla Turner, RN, MSHA . “These additional measures are informed, deliberate Public Health measures to keep our community safe. Every single person’s actions and compliance with these restrictions will save lives and protect our healthcare workers – and that is the ultimate goal.”

NCDHHS GUIDANCE

This week, NCDHHS provided additional guidance for those who should be tested for COVID-19. According to DHHS, if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and symptoms are mild, the best thing you can do is stay home, isolate yourself from other people in your household as much as possible, and recover.

When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to others like critical health care workers and people at high risk for severe illness. Staying home will save lives.

If you are at risk of serious illness, which are those age 65 or older or with underlying health conditions, call your healthcare provider or the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800 immediately if you begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has developed a new fact sheet to help you know what to do if you are sick.

You can go back to your normal activities when you can answer YES to all the following questions:
• Has it been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms?
Have you been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?
• Are your other symptoms improved?
• Because there is no treatment for COVID-19, a test will not change what you do if you have mild symptoms.

If you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips. In the case of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Read more online about why people with mild symptoms should stay home.

To stay up to date on COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus or text COVIDNC to 898211. Call 2-1-1 (or 888-892-1162) for general questions or for help finding human services resources in your community.

STATEWIDE STAY AT HOME ORDER

Today, Governor Roy Cooper announced a Stay At Home Order that will be effective as of 5 p.m. Monday, March 30. In the order Governor Cooper urges residents to only leave their house for essential services, work or outdoor activity. The Order closes playgrounds and, already noted in New Hanover County’s State of Emergency, limits gatherings to no more than 10 people. Read the Stay At Home Order here.

SENIOR FOOD DRIVE-THRU OPTIONS

The New Hanover County Senior Resource Center is offering drive-thru lunch options for senior customers who participate in the congregate program and those age 60 or older. Current registered senior participants and new participants are encouraged to call 910-798-6420 at least one day prior to reserve a meal pick-up at one of the following locations:
• Senior Resource Center (2222 S. College Rd. Wilmington): Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Castle Hayne Baptist Church (4544 Parmele, Castle Hayne): Monday-Friday, 12-1 p.m.
• Veterans Park Soccer Field Parking Lot (835 Halyburton Memorial Pkwy, Wilmington): Monday-Friday, 12-1 p.m.
• Nir Family YMCA (2710 Market St.): Monday-Friday, 12-1 p.m.

The Senior Resource Center will also continue operating the Home Delivered Meals Program for its registered homebound participants.

CHILDCARE FOR ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL

Under the direction of Governor Cooper, NCDHHS and the Department of Public Instruction, The North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral Network and partners across the state are working together to provide vital child care options.
Parents who provide necessary services to, or care for, members of the community, and regular child care is not available because of COVID-19 closures can call 1-888-600-1685. Parents can be connected to child care for children ages infant to 12 years old.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

Residents are encouraged to take advantage of information, resources, and services available to help with concerns and reduce stress during this uncertain time.

Information and resources on mental health care can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or by calling their Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. A SAMSHA coping information flyer is available here for reference also.

Additional coping strategies can also be found on the World Health Organization Stress Management flyer here.

Locally, Trillium Health Resources has a webpage detailing mental health information for adults, parents, and individuals or family members of those with disabilities and other access and functional needs.

SPECIAL NEEDS REGISTRY

Staff and volunteers with the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center and Emergency Management began reaching out to 410 individuals on the Special Needs Registry on March 18. The Special Needs Registry includes individuals with special medical or functional needs that are at higher risk during emergency events. Volunteers called each individual to share information about COVID-19 and to make sure their preparedness plans are in place. Volunteers and staff continue to follow up with those who needed additional assistance with preparedness plans. If you or someone you know has access or functional needs, call 910-798-6400.

SIMPLE WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY

Get plenty of sleep. When we’re stressed, we need more sleep. And adequate sleep is good for our immune systems.

Drink extra water. It’s allergy season and most of our sinuses are working overtime. Help them stay flushed by drinking plenty of water.

Enjoy the sunshine when you can. Sunshine and fresh air are beneficial for your immune system. If you have a backyard, use it to avoid contact with other people. Walking on the sidewalks is fine but remember to keep your distance from other people.

COMMUNITY PROTECTIONS

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents must continue increased prevention measures and practice limited contact with others:
• Follow social distancing: gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited under the State of Emergency, and individuals are encouraged to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).
• Stay home and away from others when you are sick.

For updates and resources related to COVID-19 in New Hanover County, visit www.Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.

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