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 RESPONSE UPDATES
As our cases continue to increase, protect yourself and others by doing the 3 Ws: WEAR a cloth covering over your nose and mouth, WAIT 6 feet apart, and WASH your hands. These actions can protect our families and neighbors. Highlights of the data derived from the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Harnett County as of February 19, 2021:
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.
Outbreaks and Clusters: The Health Department is currently monitoring eight outbreaks for COVID-19. In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases. The following facilities are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks: Harnett Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Emerald Health and Rehabilitation Center, Universal Healthcare, Carrolton of Dunn, Oakhill Assisted Living, and Pinecrest Gardens. Two correctional institutions, Harnett Correctional Institution and Harnett County Detention Center. A COVID-19 cluster is defined as a minimum of five laboratory-confirmed cases in close proximity. One COVID-19 clusters has been reported at Campbell University. Data are preliminary, and these numbers and facilities are subject to change as more information is obtained during outbreak investigations.
COVID-19 Harnett County Dashboard: The COVID-19 Harnett County Dashboard offers a snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases specific to Harnett County. The report includes daily case counts, cases per week, cases by age, race, ethnicity, gender and deaths. For more information regarding the data in this report contact the Harnett County Health Department at 910-893-7550. VIEW REPORT
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES FOR HARNETT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in NC and Harnett County vastly exceeds the current supply. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all who want it, but supplies are currently limited.
Due to vaccine supply uncertainty, the Harnett County Health Department is working thru its COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. We are scheduling first dose COVID-19 vaccines by appointment only, for persons 65 years or older and health care workers. We will contact you when we have availability to schedule your vaccine appointment.
If you have already called or emailed and provided your contact information, no additional action is needed. As we receive additional vaccine, we will continue to work through the waiting list. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.
For more information on Harnett County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine efforts, visit https://www.harnett.org/publicinfo/covid19-vaccine-information.asp.
NO-COST COVID-19 TESTING CLINICS
Lillington Location. OPTUM Serve will offer free drive-thru COVID-19 testing for the upcoming week at the CCCC Harnett Health Sciences Center, located at 51 Red Mulberry Way Lillington, NC 27546. Testing appointments can be scheduled on the following days and times:
Anyone who meets the testing criteria can be tested at an OptumServe community testing site, including uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals. OptumServe will generate a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver’s license.
To schedule an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting. Call (877) 562-4850 if you do not have internet or are registering for a minor. Location subject to change, please check: https://lhi.care/covidtesting for the latest location information.
Dunn Location. A+ Family Care Primary Care & Women's Health will offer free COVID-19 testing during the month of February each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the City of Dunn Community Center, located at 205 Jackson Road, Dunn, NC 28334.
Testing will be available by drive-thru or walk up clinics. Individuals should bring a state issued identification and an insurance card (if applicable) services are also provided for uninsured. For more information regarding additional testing dates please call 919-205-8204.
COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD WORK SESSION ON FEBRUARY 23
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next work session on Tuesday, February 23 at 9:00 AM. A quorum of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners and staff will be stationed in the Board Chambers to maintain the recommended social distancing of 6 feet.
The meeting will not be open to the members of the public to attend in person; however, virtual options will be available. The live stream of the meeting will be available on the following online sites:
If you wish to call in and listen to the meeting you may dial (910)814-6959. Please remember to mute your phone while listening so as not to disrupt others listening.
The February 23 work session agenda includes:
NCDHHS TO PROVIDE EXTRA HELP BUYING FOOD FOR CHILDREN
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with NC Department of Public Instruction today announced it will begin issuing additional benefits on Feb. 19, 2021 through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. These benefits will be received over several days starting Friday for those who already have an EBT card for Food and Nutrition Services or P-EBT benefits.
The P-EBT program helps families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card that can be used to buy food at authorized food and grocery retailers, including most major grocery stores.
Families do not need to apply for P-EBT. Eligibility criteria are based on requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A school-aged child is eligible if their school participates in the National School Lunch Program and the student is eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year. Also, the student’s school must have been closed or has been operating with reduced attendance for at least five consecutive days during the 2020-2021 school year as a result of COVID-19. The student must also be learning in a fully remote (all virtual) and or in a hybrid (combination of virtual and in-person) learning mode during the month. An eligible student can receive one of two distinct benefit amounts depending on if they are identified as being in a remote learning mode or a hybrid learning mode.
P-EBT benefits received in February 2021 will be for the months of August to December 2020 for those students who are eligible. Those who do not have a P-EBT card and are eligible during these months should anticipate receiving their cards in February or March. The total amount of P-EBT benefits put on a card will not be received at one time; benefits will be spread out over several days to avoid overwhelming those stores that accept EBT. P-EBT benefits will be issued retroactively in a monthly issuance starting in March as long as the child remains eligible.
Eligible families already receiving FNS benefits can expect to receive the P-EBT benefit on their existing EBT card. Families who already have a P-EBT card from last school year and are eligible under the new criteria can expect to receive the benefit on their original P-EBT card. Eligible families who do not have an FNS or P-EBT card will be mailed a card.
If someone has lost or destroyed their original P-EBT card, they can order a new card at www.ebtedge.com, on the EBT Edge mobile app or by contacting the North Carolina EBT Call Center at 1-866-719-0141. P-EBT benefits are entirely federally funded. More information about the P-EBT program can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/PEBT. For the latest information on COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19.
Individuals with questions about applying for free or reduced-price meals should contact their children’s school for more information.
FREE TAX ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County residents can get their tax returns prepared free through March 31 at the Harnett County Government Complex Commons Area, located at 309 W Cornelius Harnett Boulevard in Lillington. The Commons Area is the building located between the Health Department and Social Services Department.
This assistance will be available every Wednesday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM through March 31. Individuals will be required to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing requirements and wear a face cloth covering while receiving tax assistance.
Tax returns will be prepared and filed electronically by volunteers from the Campbell University School of Business working with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
Tax help is provided on a first come, first served basis. No appointments are taken. The volunteers will complete most standard tax returns although there are a few forms and schedules they will not prepare.
Those seeking tax preparation services must have a photo ID (and photo ID for the spouse, if applicable), social security card (or ITIN) for each person on the tax return (including dependents), and all of the taxpayers’ tax forms.
Free Federal tax forms will be available on site. No North Carolina state forms have been provided this year. State tax forms can be obtained by calling the NC Department of Revenue at 1-877-252-3052 or visiting http://www.dor.state.nc.us.
For more information, contact Harnett County Public Library at 910-893-3446.
GOV. COOPER OUTLINES TIMELINE ON GROUP 3 COVID-19 VACCINE PRIORITIZATION
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. outlined a timeline for Group 3 frontline workers becoming eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, beginning with anyone working in child care or in PreK – 12 schools on February 24.
Because vaccine supply continues to be limited and the Group 3 population of frontline essential workers is so large, the state needs to move to the next group gradually. Those working in child care and schools, such as teachers, bus and van drivers, custodial and maintenance staff, and food service workers, will be eligible first. This includes staff in child care centers and homes, Head Start Programs, Preschool and PreK programs, traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail.)
States must vaccinate people in groups due to limited supply. North Carolina is currently vaccinating people in Groups 1 and 2, which include health care workers, long-term care staff and residents and people 65 and older. In the coming weeks, providers will continue to vaccinate these groups. More than 40 percent of North Carolina’s residents 65 and older have been vaccinated.
Under the timeline outlined, the state plans to move to additional frontline workers on March 10th.
NCDHHS is working with partners to develop operational guidance to support child care and school staff in accessing vaccines. However, current prevention measures will not change. Schools can and should be providing in-person instruction. Under robust safety measures, all students can be in classrooms, with middle and high school students also following six-feet social distancing protocols.
As of this week, North Carolina has administered more than 1 million first doses of vaccine and more than 1.5 million total doses.
North Carolina is expected to received more doses of vaccine over the coming weeks heading into March. This increase and certainty of advance knowledge into the supply chain several weeks out has allowed the state to plan to open vaccinations to group 3. As state officials receive more supply information, additional operational guidance will continue to be provided.
NEW TOOLS HELP NORTH CAROLINIANS GET VACCINE INFORMATION
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released new tools to help North Carolinians get their COVID-19 vaccine questions answered and to find vaccine locations in the state.
The newly expanded COVID-19 vaccine help center can be reached at 888-675-4567 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Callers can get help with general COVID-19 vaccine questions, information on eligibility groups, clinical questions about the vaccine, how to find vaccine locations and transportation services.
The COVID-19 vaccine help center supports English and Spanish calls, and TTY. Callers will be able to select call back assistance where they receive a call when agents are available instead of waiting in line for an agent. The language line will be available for all other languages needed.
The Find a Vaccine Location search tool lets North Carolinians enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers. The Find a Vaccine Location tool will be updated regularly with the latest available data. Users should contact vaccine providers directly to confirm availability and schedule appointments. Vaccine supplies remain very low, and people eligible to be vaccinated may have to wait for an appointment. North Carolina is currently vaccinating health care workers, long-term care staff and residents, and people 65 and older (Groups 1 and 2). Not all vaccine providers may be ready to vaccinate all eligible groups yet.
Last week, NCDHHS launched an online tool to help North Carolinians know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine. Find My Vaccine Group walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they are in. People can then sign up to be notified when their group can get vaccinated.
Until the country begins to get ahead of the pandemic, the CDC says everyone should keep wearing a mask, waiting at least six feet apart and washing hands often.
NC EXTENDS MODIFIED STAY AT HOME ORDER
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina’s Modified Stay At Home Order, requiring people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am, will be extended. Face covering requirements and restrictions on individuals gathering in both indoor and outdoor settings are still in place. Executive Order No. 189 will be in effect through at least Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
The extension of Executive Order No. 190 allowing for the sale of “to-go” or delivery of mixed beverages will continue to help businesses that are struggling right now. The extension of Executive Order No. 191 will help families have the ability to stay in their homes, a critical component of slowing the spread of the virus.
The Executive Orders for “to-go” or delivery sales of mixed beverages and the evictions moratorium both received concurrence from the Council of State.
In addition to the Modified Stay at Home Order, the DHHS secretarial directive remains in effect. People should stay home and only leave for essential purposes such as buying food, accessing health care, and going to school or work.
North Carolina continues to administer Covid-19 vaccines across the state. As of today, 99.8% of all first doses received by the state were reported as being administered and 859,695 total doses have been administered. Vaccine supply continues to be very low and the state is hopeful for more vaccine to be on the way. On a call with Governor Cooper and other governors yesterday, the Biden Administration committed to increase vaccine shipments to the states by 16% over the next 3 weeks.
On Tuesday, NCDHHS expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide information about vaccine doses allocated to and received by the state and updated guidance to ensure equitable distribution and speed of administration.
north Carolinians can find out when they will be eligible to get their vaccine through a new online tool, Find My Vaccine Group. The screener walks users through a series of questions to determine which vaccine group they fall in. Learn more about North Carolina’s vaccine rollout at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov.
On January 23, NCDHHS reported the first identified case of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 Variant in North Carolina. Early data suggest that this variant may be more contagious than other variants and state health officials continue to recommend staying at home when possible and practicing the 3 “W’s:” Wear a face covering, Wait 6 feet apart and Wash your hands.
SLOWCOVIDNC EXPOSURE NOTIFICATION APP
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’. The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS), alerts users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app completed Beta testing earlier this month and can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Health Department
Step into Fitness! Walking Challenge. The “Step into Fitness” Walking Challenge, March 22nd-April 18th, will help you move more by offering simple suggestions to increase physical activity through walking. Walking challenges can be a great way to get your family, friends, and/or co-workers involved in friendly competition, physical activity, and a common goal. For more information call 910-814-6225. To register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HCHDWalkingChallenge
Harnett County Public Library
The Harnett County Public Library will soon be moving to the Harnett County Resource Center and Library, located at 455 McKinney Parkway, Lillington, To prepare for this transition, the library will be closed to the public beginning Monday, January 11th. The dropbox will be available for returns while the library is closed, but all checkouts and hold requests will be suspended. The Harnett County Resource Center and Library is tentatively scheduled to open March 1st. For more information, please contact the Harnett County Public Library at 910-893-3446.
Visit the Harnett County Public Library’s COVID-19 Resources webpage for the latest information about library programs and services.
StudentAccess Updated. StudentAccess, an online student library card initiative that began last year between the Harnett County Public Library and the Harnett County Public School System, was recently updated for the 2020-2021 school year. New and incoming students now have access to all of the educational electronic resources the Harnett County Public Library has to offer. Animated picture books, e-books, homework help, language learning apps, and so much more are now just a click away. To take advantage of this resource, students should first go to the library’s website at www.harnett.org/library and visit the Kids e-library page. To login to any of the e-resources, students will use their PowerSchool Student ID number as their library card number and the last 4 digits of that number will serve as their pin.
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. You can view all of the previous art lessons 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 email@example.com 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.
NCDHHS Checklist for Developing a Reopening Plan
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is encouraging all businesses and employers to create and implement a plan to minimize the opportunity for COVID-19 transmission at their facility. When developing these plans, there may be certain considerations to follow for compliance with applicable Executive Orders and guidance provided for individual business types. This checklist will help retail businesses and other entities reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
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.
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.
STATEWIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR FACE COVERINGS
North Carolina has adopted a face covering requirement to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This 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.
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:
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.Open PDF This response is provided through the State Medical Response System (SMRS), which recruits and manages volunteers in the following areas:
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.
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.
Some Harnett County Facilities have reopened for public access. These include: Harnett County Courthouse, Health Department, Board of Elections, Tax Department, Public Library, and Development Services. Residents are encouraged to contact these departments prior to traveling to confirm hours of operation.
Harnett County Landfills and Convenience Sites and Harnett County parks & trails are operating on a normal schedule until further notice.
Although office 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.