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Monday, June 29, 2020  |  Permalink

June 29 COVID-19 Update

This week, Harnett County Government plans to combine all COVID-19 related updates into two press releases, which will be sent out on Monday, June 29 and Thursday, July 2 around 5pm. Moving forward, press releases will be sent once a week on Fridays around 5pm. Under some circumstances, additional press releases may be sent prior to the weekly press release. The Harnett County Health Department will continue to release a COVID-19 data report each weekday on their webpage at www.harnett.org/health

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
  • Harnett County Schools Organizes Reopening Task Force
  • NCDHHS Selects Organizations to Address COVID-19 Impact on LatinX Community
  • NCDHHS Expands County Data on COVID-19 Dashboard

HARNETT COUNTY COVID-19 DATA
North Carolina has adopted a face covering requirement to help slow the spread of COVID-19, making it mandatory for people to wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth. Under the executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible. Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus.

Highlights of the data derived from the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Harnett County as of June 29, 2020 include:

  • Confirmed cases 623
  • Recovered cases 448
  • Deaths reported 30
  • Age ranges are 1 month-97 years
  • Average Age is 44
  • Positive Cases by Race 266 Hispanic, 213 White, 128 Black, and 16 Other
  • Positive Cases by Ethnicity 266 Hispanic, 341 Non-Hispanic and 16 Other
  • Gender 53% female and 47% 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.

Health Department Confirms 3 New COVID-19 Outbreaks. A COVID-19 outbreak has been identified at the following Nursing and Rehabilitation Center sites, Harnett Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Cornerstone Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Both facilities are located in Dunn.  There is also an outbreak reported at Emerald Health and Rehabilitation Center, located in Lillington.  An outbreak in a congregate living setting is defined as two or more laboratory confirmed cases.  Congregate living guidance has been provided to the facilities by Harnett County Health Department staff, including adherence to infection prevention precautions for residents and staff and limiting opportunities for the infection to spread to others in the facility.  The additional testing that led to these results was part of a comprehensive public health investigation based on a confirmed outbreak. 

HARNETT COUNTY SCHOOLS ORGANIZES REOPENING TASK FORCE
Harnett County Schools has organized a task force composed of district leaders, educators, and community stakeholders to guide the reopening of schools. The Reopening Task Force will meet regularly to review and localize the guidance document provided by the Governor’s Office in conjunction with the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Every school district in North Carolina must develop operational strategies for the three reopening plans detailed in the StrongSchools Public Health Toolkit (K-12). Harnett County Schools is committed to ensuring all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities regarding the school reopening process. The safety and well being of all students and staff is our highest priority in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.

NCDHHS SELECTIONS ORGANIZATIONS TO ADDRESS COVID-19 IMPACT ON LATINX COMMUNITY
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has awarded grants to five local North Carolina organizations to help address the disparate impact COVID-19 is having among the state’s Hispanic and LatinX communities. 

Association of Mexicans in North Carolina Inc. (AMEXCAN), El Centro Hispano, Latin American Coalition, Qué Pasa Media Network and True Ridge will each receive $100,000 to help support disease prevention measures in high-risk Hispanic/LatinX communities. The five organizations selected to partner with NCDHHS represent the eastern, central, western and major metropolitan areas of North Carolina. 

Measures to be addressed include prevention practices such as wearing face coverings, social distancing and frequent hand-washing; access to COVID-19 testing; engagement with contact tracers; participation in quarantine and isolation measures; and coordination with NCDHHS messaging around these efforts. 

In June 2020, North Carolina saw a sustained increase in its confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the general population, and a disproportionately high percentage of cases statewide are among historically marginalized populations. In particular, North Carolina’s Hispanic/LatinX communities are being hit hard by the virus, representing 44% of cases statewide (as of mid-June) where race and ethnicity are known. 

Many people in Hispanic/LatinX communities provide essential services and work in industries North Carolina relies upon, such as construction, child care and food processing. Often, this work is in environments where social distancing can be challenging, health insurance is not provided and for a sick person, staying home could create a significant financial burden. These are all factors that may be contributing to the high rate of COVID-19 spread among Hispanic/LatinX communities. 

The grants will be funded through the end of 2020 by the NC General Assembly’s Department of the Treasury.

About the organizations
Association of Mexicans in North Carolina (AMEXCAN) (Greenville) is an advocacy organization with offices throughout eastern North Carolina and a mission to encourage the active participation of Mexicans and other Hispanic/LatinX individuals in their destination and origin communities in promoting appreciation, understanding and prosperity of the community through their actions. More at http://amexcannc.org/blog.

El Centro Hispano (Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Raleigh) is a Latino nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the community, building bridges and advocating for equity and inclusion for Hispanics/Latinos in the Triangle Area of North Carolina. More at https://elcentronc.org/about-us.

Qué Pasa Media Network (Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro) is widely known as the link to and the voice of the Hispanic community in North Carolina through various media properties. More at https://www.quepasamedia.com.

Latin American Coalition (Charlotte) envisions a diverse and vibrant North Carolina which embraces, supports and respects people of all cultures and backgrounds. More at https://latinamericancoalition.org/ourmission

True Ridge (Hendersonville) works to connect members of the LatinX community with the resources and opportunities to help them grow personally, professionally and spiritually. More at https://www.trueridge.org/about.

For more information about North Carolina’s response to COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19.

NCDHHS EXPANDS COUNTY DATA ON COVID-19 DASHBOARD
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has expanded the COVID-19 Dashboard to include expanded county data on trends, demographics and testing. The updated dashboard also includes a new report on COVID-19 clusters in child care and school settings.

The interactive NC COVID-19 Dashboard now includes county trends over time in cases and deaths, as well as demographic information on cases and deaths by race, ethnicity, sex and age. It also displays one of the key statewide metrics by county– percent of tests that are positive. Together, these data provide a more in-depth picture of COVID-19 at the county level.  

Previously, testing data by county was not available because a large proportion of negative tests were reported manually and did not include county information. With more tests now being reported electronically with county data, there is now sufficient data to reliably share the percent positive by county.  The dashboard will also display the number of tests that are reported electronically in each county. There are limitations to the data. About a quarter of recent tests reported to North Carolina are not reported electronically, and some counties may be more likely to use a lab that reports electronically.

In addition to the expanded county data, the Department now provides a biweekly report on COVID-19 clusters in child care and school settings. A cluster is defined as both a minimum of five cases in the same facility within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiological linkage between cases.

The report includes the facility type (school or child care), county and the number of cases and deaths among staff and children. This information will be part of the Outbreaks and Clusters section of the Dashboard, which also includes cases and deaths at long-term care facilities, other congregate care settings. The first report of clusters in child care and school settings will be available later today.

You can view all of this new and updated data using the links below.

NCDHHS will continue to assess and provide additional data as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and more information becomes available. The dashboard can be accessed online at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

For more information about North Carolina’s response to COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19

COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD WORK SESSION ON JUNE 30
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next work session on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 9 am. Only County government staff necessary to conduct the meeting or to speak on scheduled agenda items will be in attendance. This meeting will not be open to members of the public to attend in person; however, accommodations are in place to allow the public to attend virtually.

Interested individuals can receive live updates from the meeting by tuning into Harnett County Government’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU7mTF6HTD65x_98EhAMeMg/featured. The live stream will be audio only. You may also follow along on Twitter (@HarnettCounty) to get live updates during the meeting or call in and listen to the meeting by dialing (910)814-6959. 

The June 30 meeting agenda includes:

  • Consider the approval of the Corrected FY20-21 Budget Ordinance and Budget http://ow.ly/YBCG50AhvyD
  • Bus Patrol Software Presentation
  • Update on the Government Complex Park
  • Discuss Tax exemptions, exclusions, late listing, and penalties
  • Request for approval to accept Emergency Watershed Protection funding
  • Assistant County Manager's Report

Learn more about the June 30 work session.

STATEWIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR FACE COVERINGS
Effective June 26, North Carolina is adopting a face covering requirement to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This new executive order makes it mandatory for people to wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth when they are indoor and in outdoor public places and where staying 6 feet from people who are not part of their households is impossible. Face coverings are a simple way to control this virus while we protect ourselves, our families, and other people around us. Employees and customers of retail businesses and restaurants, as well as workers in manufacturing, construction, meat process and agriculture settings, must wear face coverings in those places.

View the FAQ on Executive Order 147

View the NCDHHS Guidance on Face Coverings

NC PAUSES IN SAFER AT HOME PHASE 2, ADDS STATEWIDE FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks. Cooper also announced that face coverings must be worn when people are in public places as officials seek to stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread. 

Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Until now, face coverings had been strongly recommended. Under today’s executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible. 

In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.

Businesses can download templates for signs on face coverings here . Downloadable social media graphics  are also available for use. 

Read Executive Order No. 147  that implements today’s announcement. 

Read Frequently Asked Questions about today’s executive Order and mandatory face coverings. 

Read NCDHHS guidance on face coverings.

View the slide presentation from media briefing. 

PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Public Library
Summer Reading Program. Are you ready to Imagine Your Story with us this Summer? The Summer Reading Program began on June 15. This year’s program will be fully virtual, but we will still be providing children and their families with plenty of Summer Reading Fun! We’ll have bags full of crafts and activities, book bundles, and summer reading logs – all available for curbside pickup! Continue to check the Harnett County Public Library website and social media pages for updates, and get ready to travel to magical lands and faraway places with the Harnett County Public Library this Summer!

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.

Harnett County Health Department
Virtual Health Sessions. Zoom into Health is a four-week, interactive series that will provide information on health topics. The series began on June 10 and sessions will be held each Wednesday from 10:00am -10:30am. The fourth session “Four Food Safety Tips for the Fourth!”, which is scheduled for July 1, is open for individuals of all ages. Sessions will be available through the Zoom Video Communications platform. Interested individuals will need to have access to an internet connection and a device that you can use to video conference such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

For more information or to register, call our Health Education Division at 910-814-6195 or 910-893-7550 to get the Zoom meeting ID and password.

Harnett County Parks & Recreation
Virtual Nature Hikes. Harnett County Parks and Recreation launched a virtual nature hike series in May. The first hike at Anderson Creek County Park explored the many different elements of a Long Leaf Pine Ecosystem. 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. The second hike was held at the Cape Fear River Trail Park in Erwin and explored 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 these virtual hikes can be found 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.

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.  

Central Carolina Recovery Program
Businesses negatively impacted by C-19 may be eligible for free 1-on-1 virtual consulting with a business expert to help your business not just survive but thrive moving forward.  Click here to apply.

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.

Count on Me NC Safety Training Program
Governor Roy Cooper and Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Mandy Cohen, announced a partnership with North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) for an innovative safety training program for North Carolina businesses and restaurants. Count on Me NC is a free online training program to help restaurants, hotels and other businesses learn the best ways to protect customers and employees from COVID-19. 

Businesses across North Carolina can participate in this no-cost training that was developed with the NC Department of Health and Human Services. It includes evidence-based practices on social distancing, employee health and sanitation to protect people’s health.

The first phase of Count on Me NC training is designed for restaurants and hospitality businesses that serve food. The program plans to expand to other tourism businesses including lodging and attractions and add courses in Spanish by June.

Count on Me NC also encourages customers to take precautions before returning to restaurants, especially if they’re in a high-risk population and to be respectful towards staff as they adjust to these guidelines. Individuals can take the Count on Me Pledge to practice the Three Ws – wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, wait six feet apart from others – and to stay home if they’re feeling sick. 

See which businesses have already completed training and learn more on how to participate at CountOnMeNC.org.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Harnett County Landfills and Convenience Sites and Harnett County parks & trails are 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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