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Harnett County,
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Friday, May 22, 2020  |  Permalink

May 22 COVID-19 Update

Harnett County continues to work with state officials and local agencies to closely monitor the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information by reviewing our daily press release. We will continue to provide new information while also communicating reminders for residents during this time.

In today’s update, the following sections include new information:

  • Harnett County COVID-19 Data
  • Interim Guidance for Places of Worship & Religious Services
  • Stay at Home Order Lifted. Phase Two Begins Today
  • One-Time Payment to Families with Children in Work First Cash Assistance Program
  • Regional Skills Analysis Survey
  • Virtual Memorial Day Ceremony
  • Harnett County Business Resources

HARNETT COUNTY COVID-19 DATA
The Harnett County Health Department is reporting the county’s twenty-first COVID-19 related death of Harnett County residents. The death was associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak at Universal Healthcare Lillington, a Nursing and Rehabilitation center. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory confirmed cases. The individual was elderly and had underlying medical conditions. The number of deaths associated with this facility is currently at fifteen as of May 22, 2020. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about these individuals will be released.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family,” stated Health Director John Rouse. “Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, but anyone can have complications from the virus. The safety of all Harnett County residents is our priority,” Rouse added.

As we continue to see an increase in the number of cases in Harnett County, we are reminding residents to take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a cloth face covering in public spaces, keeping at least 6 feet of physical distance, and frequently washing your hands. We are encouraging the community to follow the Public Health Orders that have been issued to help stop the spread of this disease in our county.

Highlights of the data derived from the confirmed positive cases for Harnett County as of May 22, 2020 include:

  • Confirmed cases 259
  • Recovered cases 193
  • Deaths reported 21
  • Age ranges are 2 to 97 years
  • Average Age is 53
  • Gender 55% female and 45% male

It is important to remember that the data contained in this release is subject to change as cases are investigated and additional testing is performed.

INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP AND RELIGIOUS SERVICES
As our churches and places of worship reopen, the Health Department is encouraging faith communities to follow the guidelines included in the Interim Guidance for Places of Worship and Religious Services provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).  These guidelines will provide helpful information as places of worships make plans to reopen. As we receive additional information and guidance, we will share that with you. This document is located on the Harnett County Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health.

STAY AT HOME ORDER LIFTED. PHASE TWO BEGINS TODAY
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing. 

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level. 

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level. 

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing 

  • North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS testing information website

Tracing Capability

  • The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments. 

Personal Protective Equipment 

  • Supply chains continue to improve. 

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?

Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible. The following is included in Phase 2.

  • Mass gathering limits  will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches. 
  • Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys. 
  • Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including: restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings. 
  • Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level. 
  • Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.

Read NC DHHS guidance for various sectors. 

Read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2.

View the graphs and slides from the Phase 2 press conference.

ONE-TIME PAYMENT TO FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN IN WORK FIRST CASH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) began distributing a one-time supplemental payment to families enrolled in the Work First Cash Assistance program with one or more children. These payments are intended to help vulnerable families during the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All Work First Cash Assistance families that received a benefit in April and had one or more children in their household will receive a supplement of $265 per child for a total of more than 17,000 children. Some families will receive the payment today on their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, others will receive the payment on Monday via a direct deposit. 

Work First is North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Work First program provides parents with short-term training and other services to help them become employed and move toward self-sufficiency. Families in which grandparents and relatives are caring for their relative children and legal guardians can receive services and support that prevent children from unnecessarily entering the foster care system.

To learn more about the Work First program, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/work-first-family-assistance

REGIONAL SKILLS ANALYSIS SURVEY
A critical question moving forward for North Carolina’s economic recovery will be how to identify industries with growth, what skills and credentials will be needed to work in those industries, and how to connect the workforce with training and job openings. This will require a concerted effort from the private sector, workforce development, and educational institutions to bridge existing skills and access gaps and connect people out of work to good-paying, quality jobs. 

To support this effort, RTIWake County Economic Development, Capital Area Workforce Development the City of Raleigh Cape Fear Collective, and the Wilmington Chamber are conducting a regional skills analysis survey in the Triangle and Cape Fear regions of North Carolina to identify industry and region-specific trends and needs for talent in the next three years. This data will inform a coordinated strategy to prepare economic and workforce development partners to address the workforce needs of industry as we navigate the economic recovery.

The Regional Skills Analysis survey is led by industry leaders in the Research Triangle region and Cape Fear regions and aims to evaluate workforce needs and trends in North Carolina.

  • The survey should take about 15 minutesto complete. You can save your answers and finish later.
  • Respondents who complete the survey can enter into a prize drawingfor regional-specific rewards, including gift cards to local businesses.
  • This survey is best answered bysomeone with familiarity with the organization’s hiring process, like a manager, HR representative, or executive.

TAKE SURVEY NOW

VIRTUAL MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY
Harnett County Veterans Services will hold a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 25 at 9am. With the public unable to attend this year’s ceremony, staff will provide a live stream of the ceremony on Facebook live.  This year's virtual ceremony will be held at Harnett County Veterans Memorial Park and will include the National Anthem, honoring the men and women who gave their lives for our Country, laying of a wreath, performing taps, and a closing ceremony.

To attend the virtual ceremony, visit Harnett County’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HarnettCounty/ at 9am on May 25.

HARNETT COUNTY BUSINESS RESOURCES
Harnett County Economic Development
Harnett County Economic Development has compiled the latest COVID-19 information and resources for businesses in Harnett County. If your company is considering transitioning to production of medical supplies or equipment, please contact Angie Stewart at astewart@harnett.org for an expanded list of resources to potentially assist beyond those listed on the website. For businesses preparing to reopen, view these COVID-19 resources.  

COVID-19 Relief Bills
On May 4, 2020, Governor Cooper announced two COVID-19 relief bills. House Bill 1043 includes appropriation of $125 million to Golden LEAF Foundation for the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program. Applications are reviewed on a first come, first served basis. Visit NCRapidRecovery.org to learn more about the program and submit an application for your small business.

Job Opportunities
There are also several local businesses within Harnett County looking to hire. The following positions are available at this time:

Harnett County Small Business Center
Free Workshops, Seminars, and Webinars from Across the State and Just Down the Road

Support from Local Chambers
Businesses can also receive support from the County’s five Chambers of Commerce. Small businesses are encouraged to reach out to these organizations for additional support during COVID-19.

PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Public Library
Virtual Programs. Even though the Harnett County Public Library is closed to the public, the library continues to provide access to content that enriches the lives of our community. This includes:

  • Online library card registration
  • Curbside item pickup
  • Virtual programs, including weekly storytime and line dancing classes
  • Electronic resources, including ebooks, audiobooks, interactive picture books, video, magazines, study resources, and more!

Visit the Harnett County Public Library’s COVID-19 Resources webpage for the latest information about library programs and services. Librarians are also still available by phone Monday through Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm at (910) 893-3446.

Dial-A-Story Service. The Harnett County Public Library also launched a new Dial-A-Story service. With this service, parents can call 910-814-6350 anytime of the day to let their children listen to a pre-recorded message of one of our librarians reading a storybook! The stories will be updated every few weeks and will feature different readers each time.

Book Drop Off. Starting May 15, Harnett County Public Library will reopen their book drop off service. Harnett County residents can return materials at your convenience as staff prepare to safely expand services. All fines and penalties for returned items will be waived until further notice.

Harnett County Parks & Recreation
Virtual Nature Hikes. Beginning Monday, May 18, Harnett County Parks and Recreation will begin sharing a virtual nature hike of the Cape Fear River Trail Park in Erwin! This will be a multi-part series that explores many interesting finds at the park such as the very large "grandfather trees", observed flora and fauna, and the soothing sounds of the Cape Fear River waters. All parts of the hike, when released, can also be found on the Harnett County Parks and Recreation YouTube Channel.

Harnett County Parks & Recreation previously launched their first ever virtual nature hike on May 1 which explored the many different elements of a Long Leaf Pine Ecosystem that can be found at Anderson Creek County Park. This multi-part series explored some basics of a long leaf line ecosystem, including plant life, signs of local wildlife, the benefits of conducting prescribed burns, etc. You can view the Long Leaf Pine Ecosystem Nature Hike Series on the Harnett County Parks and Recreation YouTube Channel.

Virtual Art Lessons. Harnett County Parks & Recreation has partnered with Elyse Johnson with Artifactual to bring you virtual art lessons every Wednesday and Friday at 12pm. You can view all of the previous art lessons and join live each Wednesday and Friday on the Harnett County Parks & Recreation Facebook page.

RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services continues to provide ongoing benefits as well as some emergency benefits as the impact of COVID-19 continues in our state. There are several ways you can apply or find out more information online to get benefits for you and your family. Click here for links, direct contact information, and scannable QR Codes.

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community. NC 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and resources are available in most languages. North Carolinians can text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19.

NCWORKS COVID-19 JOBS AND INFORMATION
Many North Carolinians have become unemployed or had their hours reduced as a result of COVID-19 (the coronavirus pandemic). At the same time, certain businesses across North Carolina need to find new employees quickly because of increased demand. Learn more about who is hiring and get connected to new job opportunities.

HOW TO HELP: INFORMATION ABOUT VOLUNTEERING AND DONATIONS
As our state leaders urge North Carolinians to stay home during this unprecedented pandemic, there are ways you can make a difference.

Donate Medical Supplies and Personal Protective Equipment
Our current purchasing efforts are focused on medical supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If your company can supply any of the supplies listed below, or related commodities or services, please provide your company’s information to VendorHelp.COVID19@dhhs.nc.gov.

Critical supplies include:

  • Respirators (N95, FFP2/3, N99, N100)
  • Surgical and Procedural Masks (aka: ear-loop masks or 3-ply masks)
  • Gowns (liquid barrier, meets ASTM PB70 standard for levels 1-4)
  • Nitrile Gloves 
  • Face Shields 
  • Eye Protection
  • Shoe Covers         
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Surgical Masks
  • Hand Soap 
  • Disinfecting Spray and Disinfecting Wipes 
  • Ventilators & Anesthesia Machines
  • Positive Air Pressure Respirator
  • Controlled Air Purifying Respirator

State Surplus has provided guidance for local and state government agencies and schools on Executive Order 122, related to donation and/or transfer of medical/health supplies including PPEs. Learn more.

Health Care Volunteers Needed
A crucial part of supporting our health care system includes recruiting volunteers to supplement our health care workforce. We are asking for your help to meet these needs. This response is provided through the State Medical Response System (SMRS), which recruits and manages volunteers in the following areas:

  • Clinical (physicians, advanced care providers, nurses, EMS)
  • Clinical Support (pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care) 
  • Non-clinical support (facility maintenance, safety, and administrative)

If you can volunteer, please register here.

Volunteer in Your Community
From helping to stock food banks to donating blood, there are numerous ways to help your community. Check out these opportunities across North Carolina.

CDC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLOTH FACE COVERINGS
Take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a cloth face covering in public space.  A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  These are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. 

When in public, use a cloth face covering that: 

  • Reaches above nose & below chin, completely covering mouth & nostrils
  • Fits snugly against sides of your face
  • Is made of multiple layers of cloth that you can breathe through

Take action to slow the spread of COVID19 by wearing a cloth face covering in public spaces, keeping at least 6 feet of physical distance, and frequently washing your hands.  For more information, visit the Harnett County Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health 

COUNTY OPERATIONS
Under Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Executive Order, local government offices are considered essential business and are able to continue operations. You can view more about essential government operations by clicking here

Public Access Closure Notice
Effective March 19, 2020, Harnett County officials closed public access to Harnett County Government Office Buildings due to COVID-19.

The Harnett County Health Department is the only department that will continue to allow public access to their building to support residents at this time. Harnett County Landfills and Convenience Sites are also operating on a normal schedule until further notice.

Although the buildings will be closed for public access, Harnett County Government staff will continue to offer services and provide support to residents at this time. Residents are encouraged to visit www.harnett.org to receive services online or call County Departments for assistance with services. A list of County department phone numbers can also be found at www.harnett.org/department-index.asp.

Residents can also visit www.harnett.org/publicinfo/covid19-cancellations-.asp to learn the latest updates from County Departments and how to access online resources and services.

PREVENTION TIPS
Although your risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, the county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds at a 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL SICK
Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together some guidelines for what to do if you feel sick.

  1. Stay home and call your doctor, if needed.
    Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The CDC recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms – such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. You should call your doctor or 911 right away if you have: shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, blue lips, difficulty breathing, and/or confusion.

Most people will not need to be tested. 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.

  1. 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. 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 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.

You can view this information from NCDHHS by viewing the COVID-19: What to Do If You Feel Sick information handout.

STAYING INFORMED
Residents are asked to prepare for COVID-19 by getting the latest information directly from reliable sources. The COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a flood of misinformation from unreliable sources. Be thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus and make sure you are separating rumor from fact before you act. 

Please visit Harnett County’s COVID-19 webpage (http://www.harnett.org/publicinfo/coronavirus-covid19-updates.asp) for the latest information from the NC DHHS and the CDC. Harnett County will also be providing updates on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor social media accounts.

 
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