3/16/2020 Beaufort County, NC
The Following information is as of 5pm
- There are currently 5,853 COVID-19 cases in the US, with 97 deaths. 7% of all active cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization). This is down from 16% just 3 weeks ago.
- NC has 56 confirmed cases across 18 counties, with 0 deaths and 1 hospitalization. All confirmed cases were known to have direct contact with another infected person, or recently traveled to areas with known, widespread outbreaks.
- Beaufort County currently has no confirmed cases.
- Eastern NC counties with current cases include: Brunswick (1), Crave (1), Onslow (1), Sampson (1), Wayne (1) and Wilson (1). Wake County has the most cases with 15. These persons continue to be monitored by local Health Department personnel.
- Beaufort County Government has implemented “social distancing” measures in all areas where the public and county staff interface. This initiative will use a combination of preexisting building elements (ie. countertops, entry ways, etc.) and temporary barriers to allow for at least 6’ of space between employees and the public for as much of the interaction as possible.
- The City of Washington closed the following city office building to the public until further notice:
- City Hall
- Bobby Andrews Recreation Center
- George H. and Laura E. Brown Library
- Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center
- Moore Aquatic and Fitness Center
- Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex
- Beaufort County Schools is closed for the next 2 wks. They will be offering free breakfast and lunch drive through from 10:30 – 12:30 pm at the following locations:
- Northeast Elementary School
- Eastern Elementary School
- John Cotton Tayloe Elementary School
- Chocowinity Primary School
- SW Snowden Elementary School
- *Additional information and updates can be found on Beaufort County School’s Website.
- All assisted living facilities in Beaufort County have restricted visitations to end of life visits only.
- North Carolina is currently under the following executive orders:
- Restricting dine-in services at all restaurants / bars effective at 5pm today. These businesses will continue to be allowed to provide carry-out and delivery services.
- Limit gatherings to less than 100 people. (Exceptions include, but are not limited to retail stores, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.) At the moment, this order has not been amended to match the current CDC recommendation of less than 50.
Conversations and announcements continue at the federal and state levels regarding mass and / or rapid testing for COVID-19, with Wake county hosting a “drive through” style test site today. Today’s talks also included expanding testing abilities to local medical providers via state and commercial laboratories. While the supply of test collection kits is on the rise, they remain limited, and are being prioritized to areas with more concentrated outbreaks. As such, test conducted at Beaufort County’s Health Department will continue to be subject to the following requirements.
- Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
- Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test
Test results are typically returned between 24 and 72 hrs, depending on the demand of the laboratory facility being used.
We will pass along information pertaining to additional test(s) or testing requirements as they become available.
While testing is currently the spotlight topic and serves the beneficial purpose of identifying COVID-19 victims, it is a diagnostic step, and not a treatment
. As cases continue to develop, it will be important that we focus on treating the symptoms that an infected person(s) may experience. Symptoms will vary from person to person. Therefore, treatments may range from the use of over the counter medications, to professional medical care.
North Carolina’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been monitoring the supply chains of grocery and other retail stores. As of this morning, representatives from distributors for Wal-Mart, Foodlion, etc reported that commodity sales over the past 3 days have exceeded what is normal sold in a month. As such, they are encouraging everyone to return to their normal purchasing habits and refrain from bulk buying and/or hoarding. Distributors have reported having many of the supplies need to replenish stores and have begun to do so. North Carolina has assisted that effort by lifting many of the travel and weight restrictions of transport services.
Individual/Community Mitigation Efforts
- If sick, STAY HOME! (for atleast 48 hours after symptoms go away)
- If needed, call your provider or the local health department. Call, DO NOT come in.
- Wash your hands FREQUENTLY with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact (less than 6 ft) with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it away.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
What to Expect in the Future?
- Employers should take necessary precautions as they see fit, to ensure the safety of their employees. This may include enforcing social distancing measure, teleworking, etc.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home. For your business or organization, encourage staff to stay home which may inquire the alteration or review of your leave policy.
- Disinfect work surfaces, including equipment, often
- Pay special attention to common surfaces such as phones, door handles, radios, steering wheels, etc.
- Use technology for updates and information exchange instead of in-person meetings.
- Limit visitors and family to workplace.
- Early recognition of employees that are ill is important to protecting your entire staff.
The mitigation efforts listed above remain the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, given the social and travel habits of today’s population, we must also acknowledge that we will most likely have cases in Beaufort County. We expect that and are prepared to respond accordingly. The announcement of a local case, or cases should serve as a reminder of the importance of practicing our mitigation efforts, and not simply a source for panic.
We have created a resource page that can accessed at https://co.beaufort.nc.us/departments/human-services/public-health/2019-coronavirus-covid-19
. This resource page contains guidance for businesses, long term care facilities, families, and more.
We are here to offer support and answer any questions or concerns. We are encouraging all community partners to share accurate information and promote it within your businesses, communities, and elsewhere. Beaufort County’s website and Facebook page are great ways to stay up to date on accurate information.
- Chris Newkirk
- Deputy Director
- Beaufort County Emergency Services
- 1420 Highland Dr
- Washington, N.C. 27889
- Office: (252) 940-6511
- Cell: (252) 378-5352