3/28 & 3/29/2020 Beaufort County, NC
The following information is as of 3pm on 3/29/2020
Updates from our previous posting on 3/27/2020 have been highlighted.
|Worldwide||7.6 Billion||704,095 (+119,055)||555,271 (+100,043)||33,509 (+6,689)||148,824 (+19,012)|
|USA||330 Million||132,637 (+35,609)||130,025 (+33,813)||2,351 (+876)||2,612 (+1,796)|
|NC||10.4 Million||1085 (+241)||1085 (+241)||6 (+2)||N/A|
|Beaufort Co.||49,000||4 (+1)||4 (+1)||0||N/A|
|*Text in red indicates changes since our last update.*|
|*As relatively new cases, NC and Beaufort Co do not currently have patients that meet the definition of recovered.*|
- 4% of all worldwide active cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization). This is down from 19% in February.
- NC has 1085 confirmed cases across 74 counties, with 6 deaths and 87 hospitalizations.
- Beaufort County currently has 4 confirmed cases. One case has been contributed to direct contact with a known patient from another county. The 2nd is still under investigation. The 3rd case was attributed to recent travel to an outbreak area. The 4th is under investigation. All are self-isolating.
- Eastern NC counties with current cases include: Bertie, (3), Beaufort (4), Brunswick (12), Carteret (7), Camden (1), Chowan (1), Columbus (3), Craven (4), Dare (2), Duplin (1), Edgecombe (1), Greene (3), Halifax (2), Hertford (3), Hyde (1), Lenoir (3), New Hanover (25),North Hampton (25), Onslow (4), Pasquotank (2), Perquimans (1), Pitt (10) Sampson (1), Wayne (3) and Wilson (7). Durham (113), Mecklenburg (315) and Wake (133) counties have the most cases.
- Stay at Home Initiative
- “Home Is Where the Heart Is & Where Your Body Needs To Be Too!”
- Beaufort County Health Department is calling all to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. We are asking all to STAY HOME to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. STAY HOME and only leave for essential trips if you are feeling well. Essential trips include food, picking up prescription/medications, and scheduled medical appointments. Necessary trips, such as groceries and prescriptions, can also be done in a way that can help prevent the spread! Order your groceries online. You can pick them up without having to go in the store or have them delivered. When picking up your prescriptions, go through the drive thru.
- In addition, fight the spread by:
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean/disinfect commonly used areas and surfaces.
- Cough/sneeze into a tissue and throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
- These are small, simple practices that you, your family and friends can do to make a BIG impact and help fight the spread!
- We must work together to take all the necessary steps to prevent the spread and protect the health of our community and loved ones!
- Beaufort County’s EOC is now fully activated to provide support for essential county and municipal functions.
- Public access will be restricted to Beaufort County Government buildings beginning Tuesday, 3/24. Guidance for conducting business with our various departments can be found using the following link and will also be posted at each county building. https://co.beaufort.nc.us/post/421/limited-access-to-county-facilities
- 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 through May 15th. 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
- Packed lunches for school aged kids will also be served at the 9th Street Housing Authority office from 10:30am to 12:30pm. This will be from Monday-Friday. Recipients will need to provide the child's name.
- Additional information and updates can be found on Beaufort County School's Website.
- The Salvation Army is also a location for meal pick up for students.
- All assisted living facilities in Beaufort County have restricted visitations to end of life visits only.
- Vidant is prohibiting visitors across all hospitals and emergency departments with exception of the following:
- Maynard Children’s Hospital, Pediatrics Unit / NICU, Maternity and Postpartum Unit (One healthy partner allowed), Palliative Care Unit / End of Life Care, Clinics located inside the hospital, Discharge pick up, Emergency Departments (Patient requiring assistance only, Parent or Caregiver of pediatric patients)
- Shelter in Place Orders:
- Many neighboring towns and counties, as well as other areas across our state are currently instituting “Shelter in Place” orders as an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of our forward planning initiatives, Health Department officials, as well as County and Municipal leaders conducted a conference call today to discuss what orders like these would look like in Beaufort County, and whether they would be effective. Today’s conversation concluded that many of the protective features identified in these “Shelter in Place” orders already exist as current CDC, NCDHHS and local guidelines, with others becoming effective at 5pm today in accordance with the Governor’s recent Executive Order. (See EO 120 below for details.)
- Todays conversation also identified the critical need for a coordinated approach to “Shelter in Place” orders. Coordination is essential if this method is to offer the best defense against the spread of COVID-19 in our county. Everyone should agree to implement the same order, at the same time. For ex. If the county instituted a “Shelter in Place” order, but our municipalities did not, then we would only be impacting a small percentage of our population, while causing confusion as to what is acceptable, when, where and by whom. These points alone would make enforcement of such orders difficult. The same would be true if municipalities acted independently, or without coordinating with other communities.
- This same concept of a coordinated approach is also be discussed at a state level. For ex. If we issue “Shelter in Place” orders throughout Beaufort County, but neighboring counties do not, would there still be a noticeable reduction in the spread of COVID. As such, there is a possibility of statewide restrictions through additional executive orders soon.
- With all these things considered, Beaufort County and its municipalities are embracing the spirit of “Shelter in Place” and encouraging all our citizens to limit any unnecessary movements beyond your homes. Continue to follow current CDC, NCDHHS and local guidance by:
- Limiting your travel to grocery stores, etc. to essential trips only.
- Not congregating in social settings.
- Continue to practice social distancing by maintaining 6’ of space between yourself and others.
- Avoid using public amenities such as playground equipment, etc.
- North Carolina is currently under the following executive orders:
- EO 121: Governor Cooper has announced a “Stay at Home” order that will become effective at 5pm Monday, 3/30. This order will restrict travel to essential activities only. (ie. Travel for items such as, groceries, food, medications, household supplies, essential workers, etc.) This order will also limit gatherings to less than 10 people. (A copy of this order is attached to today’s email.)
- EO 120: Becomes effective at 5pm today and has extended school closures through May 15th. This order also limits gatherings to less than 50 people, and imposes the following restrictions on businesses.
- In addition to the restrictions on mass gatherings identified in Executive Order No. 117 § 1, entertainment facilities without a retail or dining component are ordered to close at 5:00pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, though any retail or dining component may operate within that establishment solely for that purpose. Any dining facilities may operate only within the restrictions for restaurants as set out in Executive Order No. 118. These facilities include, but are not limited to, the following types of business:
- Bingo Parlors, including Bingo sites operate by charitable organizations
- Bowling Alleys
- Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, indoor trampoline and rock climbing facilities)
- Health Clubs
- Indoor/Outdoor Pools
- Live Performance Venues
- Movie Theaters
- Skating Rinks
- Gaming and business establishments which allow gaming activities (e.g. video poker, gaming, sweepstakes, video games, arcade games, pinball machines or other computer, electronic or mechanical devices played for amusement)
- EO 119: Lifting restrictions on local Health Departments, child care facilities, and commerce transport. This order also restricting various functions of DMV to include:
- Driver’s License Office will operate by appointment only.
- Closing of all Drivers License Office that are on insufficient size to maintain social distancing.
- Extending office hours at locations that are of sufficient size.
- Postpone all DMV related hearings for 60 days.
- EO 118: Restricting dine-in services at all restaurants / bars. These businesses will continue to be allowed to provide carry-out and delivery services.
EX 117: 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. Today’s Executive Order announcement will limit gatherings to less than 10 people effective 5pm Monday, 3/30. (Please refer to the full order for exceptions)
(Sourced from John Hopkins Univ., & CCDC)
As a relatively new virus strand, researchers are still collecting and interpreting statistical data on the symptoms experienced with COVID -19. However, here is what has been determined so far:
What to Do if You Feel Sick
- COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms. It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.
- It rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat. These symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients. Sore throat, sneezing and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.
- Additionally, a sampling of 72,314 cases in China found the following:
- 80% of case are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
- 7% are severe and develop into pneumonia and shortness of breath.
- 4.7% were defined as critical, and included respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure.
- The following pre-existing illnesses put patients at higher risk for complications/severe symptoms:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Chronic Respiratory Disease
CDC and NC Dept. Of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) have released new guidance for patients, health care providers and outpatient facilities. (These 3 documents are attached to today's email.) The CDC and NCDHHS now recommend the following for people experiencing symptoms or become sick.
People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, to date, data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe illness.
Call your doctor or 911 right away if you have:
- Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms – such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. You can call your doctor to see if you need medical care. If you do not have a doctor, you can seek medical attention by using the following:
- Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19. People at higher risk should call their doctor if they develop symptoms of fever or cough. You are at higher risk if you:
- Are 65 years and older
- Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have a high-risk condition that includes:
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Heart disease with complications
- Compromised immune system
- Severe obesity
- Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Blue lips
- The CDC and NCDHHS have shifted their focus away from mass testing. As such, current testing guidelines are as follows:
- Most people do not need a test. 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 someone else, including people who are high risk.
- Your doctor can help you decide if you need a test. There is no treatment for COVID-19. For people with mild symptoms who don't need medical care, getting a test will not change what you or your doctor do.
- Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high- risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19.
- Beaufort County’s Health Department has completed 43 tests to date, with 34 negative results, 2 positives and 7 pending. (Our 3rd and 4th positive cases was tested by another county provider.)
- Effective Monday (3/30), Beaufort County Health Department will no longer provide community testing due to limited supplies. Most medical providers in the county can conduct the COVID-19 test.
- Not everyone should be tested. If a person is sick, they should assume they may have COVID-19 or another communicable disease and stay home until they are fever free for 3 days and have been in self-isolation for at least seven days. If their symptoms worsen, then they should contact their provider to see if additional medical attention is needed.
- There is no treatment for COVID-19. A positive test will not impact the medical management for most people with COVID-19. Testing should be used when conditions are more severe, and the diagnosis needs to be ruled out. Commercial lab testing is still available for those providers needing this information.
- Alternative surveillance tools will be used to track the spread in our county. Tracking only lab-confirmed cases is not a reliable or accurate way to understand the pandemic; therefore, the health department will use influenza surveillance tools designed to track widespread respiratory illness.
- People infected with COVID-19 coming out to be tested may spread illness to others in the community, including those at higher risk of complications, and health care workers. Also, people who are not infected with COVID-19 can become so when seeking testing, especially at health care sites. This is why we advise sick people to stay home when sick and for healthy people to only go out for necessary trips (ex. Food, medications, scheduled doctor’s appointments).
There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Treatments are specific to the symptoms experienced by the individual and may range depending on severity. For example, over the counter medicines may be an effective treatment for fever, cough, body aches etc. in some individuals. Others may require the services and treatments provided by a trained medical professional.
The CDC and NCDHHS now recommend the following guidance for treatment.
- Isolate Yourself
- If you are sick with COVID-19 or believe you might have it, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible.
- When can I go back to my normal activities?
- You can stop isolating yourself when you answer YES to ALL three 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?
- Call your doctor if your symptoms are getting worse or you have any concerns about your health.
- What if I'm not sure if I have COVID-19?
- If you have fever and cough and other symptoms of respiratory illness, even if it is not from COVID-19, you should isolate yourself as if you have COVID-19. This will reduce the risk of making the people around you sick.
- What should my family members do?
- Anyone in your household or others who have been in close contact with you should stay home for 14 days as much as possible and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact means within six feet for at least 10 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it. Family members who are healthcare workers, first responders, or others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic should review CDC guidance and check with their employers about when to return to work.
North Carolina’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to monitor the supply chains of grocery and other retail stores. As of Monday (3/16) morning, representatives from distributors for Wal-Mart, Foodlion, etc reported that commodity sales over the previous 3 days have exceeded what is normally 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 continue to do so. North Carolina has assisted that effort by lifting many of the travel and weight restrictions of transport services.
Some Eastern NC communities have elected to issue “Shelter in Place” orders. These orders have not prevented residents from obtaining basics needs such as groceries, medications, etc. No such orders have been issued for Beaufort County or any of our municipalities.
Individual/Community Mitigation Efforts
- If sick, STAY HOME! (for at least 72 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. Municipal and County staff continue to coordinate with first responders, health care providers, and various other community stakeholders to ensure an adequate response to the impacts of COVID-19. As previously stated, the announcement of a local cases should serve as a reminder of the importance of practicing our mitigation efforts, and not simply a source for panic.
As cases continue to escalate, you will see a shift in focus from testing to treatment. Again, testing is a diagnostic step, not a cure or treatment of symtptoms.
There will be a significant increase in known case over the coming days. These increases are primarily contributed to widespread testing initiatives, as well as community outbreaks now in the larger metropolitan areas of New York and Washington.
Announcements of cases attributed to “community spread” will continue for the foreseeable future. This is a normal and expected progression of communicable disease pandemics such as COVID-19. However, frequent hand washing and continuing to practice social distancing is the best way to fight community spread
Areas with high population densities such as Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg counties will continue to experience the greatest concentration of outbreaks, with their neighboring counties being the next highest. This to is an expected trend and is now evident by reviewing the NCDHHS state map tracker: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc
Economic Impacts and Mitigation
The systemic effects of social distancing has and will continue to impact our local economy. Particularly our local restaurants, many of which continue to offer carryout / drive through options. The status of local businesses and restaurants can be found by visiting the link below from the Washington Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. Please continue to support these locations when possible during this difficult time: https://www.wbcchamber.com/news/2020-business-updates-regarding-covid-19
There are also several conversations at the federal and state levels regarding economic initiative. North Carolina is in the process of lifting many of the unemployment guidelines for those seeking assistance. Details pertaining to this initiative will be forthcoming.
We have created a resource page that can accessed at:
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