Harnett County,
North Carolina

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COVID-19 News

Lastest Harnett County News  

For the latest press releases regarding COVID-19, visit https://harnett.org/publicinfo/news-release.asp 

Latests News from the State of North Carolina

For a full list of updates from Governor Cooper, click here. 

October 15- Applications are now being accepted for the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program, which will assist eligible low- and- moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

October 6- Licensed facilities providing in-person child care from August to October are eligible for $35 million in grants to help offset the financial strains placed on child care to meet health and safety guidelines while serving fewer children.

October 2- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated its COVID-19 guidance for places of worship and shared a toolkit to support faith leaders in slowing the spread of the virus. The toolkit is available in English and Spanish. It includes talking points, sample language for websites and newsletters, social media posts, flyers, information to host a community testing event and to request personal protective equipment and FAQs.

October 1-  The N.C. Department of Administration has launched a new grant program, RETOOLNC, to help minority and women-owned businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper announced.

September 30-Under Executive Order 169, North Carolina will enter Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions, effective 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2

September 28- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has updated guidance to allow indoor visitation at nursing homes that have gone 14 days without a COVID-19 case and in counties with a percent positive testing rate of 10% or less.

September 19- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 exposure notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’ to alert North Carolinians when they might have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

September 17-Beginning Oct. 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5), which continues important safety measures, such as face coverings social distancing and symptom screening but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom.  

September 9- Gov. Roy Cooper announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students. When school resumed in August, superintendents estimated that at least 100,000 students still lacked a reliable internet connection at home.

September 4- North Carolina entered “Safer At Home Phase 2.5" restrictions, at 5 p.m. Ahead of Labor Day, Gov. Roy Cooper urged North Carolinians and visitors to remain cautious and practice COVID-19 prevention measures over the weekend.

September 2- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has launched the N.C. Medicaid Optional COVID-19 Testing program to reimburse Medicaid providers for costs associated with COVID-19 testing of people without insurance.

September 1-Gov. Roy Cooper announced a careful step forward, moving North Carolina into “Safer At Home Phase 2.5 beginning 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4. (View FAQs.) Under Executive Order 163:

  • Mass gatherings will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • Playgrounds will be allowed to open. 
  • Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity. 
  • Gyms and other indoor exercise facilities may open at 30% capacity. 
  • The age requirement for mask wearing will include children down to age 5. 
  • Capacity limits at restaurants and personal care businesses, such as hair and nail salons, will stay the same. 
  • Some places will remain closed, including bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, indoor entertainment and amusement parks. Large venues will still be subject to the mass gathering limits. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen also issued Secretarial Order No. 3 to update the visitation guidelines for Nursing Homes. Click here to view updates. 

August 31- Gov. Roy Cooper has signed Executive Order 162, extending the statewide alcohol curfew until Oct. 2.

August 26- Gov. Roy Cooper has shared a recommended budget that outlines how to use North Carolina's remaining $900 million in federal coronavirus funding and make responsible investments in the state's future. Read the proposed budget.

August 25- Gov. Roy Cooper announced $175 million to assist North Carolinians with rental and utility payment support. Information about how to apply will be available once the programs have launched in the coming weeks.

August 21- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated guidance for institutions of higher education, further emphasizing that colleges and universities must work to reduce risk of viral spread of COVID-19. both on and off campus. In compliance with existing executive orders, colleges and universities should be requiring and enforcing that students and staff wear cloth masks and limit on- and off-campus. The guidance also recommends limiting on-campus housing, closing communal dining settings and implementing procedures to isolate and quarantine cases appropriately.

August 18-Due to concern for the health and safety of its customers and staff, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles has consolidated in-person services to offices large enough to maintain social distancing.

August 17-Returning to school looks different this year. If your child is returning to in-person learning, know what to expect and how to prepare them and yourself. Read more in English or in Spanish.

With schools opening in-person and remotely across the state under new health and safety procedures, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is expanding the Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) to serve teachers, school personnel and their families. Hope4Healers can provide mental health and resilience supports, and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. When teachers, school personnel or family members call the helpline, they will speak to someone who is trained to listen and offer support.

August 13-The N.C. Department of Commerce is accepting applications for the Job Retention Grant Program, a new program to support businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19, until Sept. 1.

August 12-Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order giving students and families more time to get required vaccines and health assessments needed for school.  Executive Order 156 extends, but not waives, proof-of-immunization and health assessment documentation deadlines for students enrolled in public, private or religious educational institutions, including child care facilities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

August 11- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has received the first confirmed case in the state of a dog with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. Review resources and guidance for pet owners.

August 7-The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a secretarial order requiring bi-weekly staff testing at North Carolina nursing homes. NCDHHS also announced continued state funding for staff testing through November.

August 5-Gov. Roy Cooper has signed Executive Order 155, extending North Carolina’s Safer at Home Phase 2 restrictions for an additional five weeks until Friday, Sept. 11. “Other states that lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher. We will not make that mistake in North Carolina.”

July 30- North Carolina counties this week received an additional $150 million in COVID-19 relief to help pay for medical and public health needs as well as payroll expenses for public safety and health care employees and expenses to help protect public health.

July 29- The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the N.C. Department of Public Instruction a $17.6 million grant to develop innovative instructional approaches to better meet student needs during disruptions to schooling such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

July 28-A statewide curfew on the sale of alcohol at restaurants goes into effect Friday, July 31, requiring restaurants to stop selling alcoholic drinks after 11 p.m. Bars will remain closed. View Executive Order 153. View Frequently Asked Questions

July 24- Gov. Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order 152, returning regulatory authority for skilled-nursing facilities to the secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Under Secretarial Order 1, current restrictions remain in place, as NCDHHS collaborates with industry and advocacy organizations, monitors progress and evaluates options to best protect the health and well-being of staff, residents and their loved ones.

July 16-The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services launched online tools to help Spanish-speaking North Carolinians determine if they should be tested for COVID-19 and help monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19. (En Español)

July 14- North Carolina will continue to stay paused in Safer at Home Phase 2 when the governor’s current executive order expires on Friday, July 17. The order will be extended for three weeks until Friday, Aug. 7. View frequently asked questions about Safer at Home Phase 2

North Carolina schools will open in the fall for both in-person and remote learning with key safety precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff and families.

July 9- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is beginning an initiative to send up to 250 community health workers to historically underserved areas with high COVID-19 caseloads to work with local health departments and help connect North Carolinians to medical and social support resources.

July 7-The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) took action to decrease barriers to COVID-19 testing by issuing a statewide standing order for COVID-19 diagnostic testing as well as a state health director temporary order on COVID-19 diagnostic test reporting. 

  • The statewide standing order allows testing sites to collect and submit samples to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing without requiring a specific order.
  • The order also authorizes testing sites to receive results directly from laboratories.
  • This will facilitate community-based testing sites and reduce barriers to testing, especially for members of historically marginalized populations who might be less likely to have a medical home.

June 29- Under Gov. Roy Cooper's latest executive order,  people are required to wear face coverings while out in public when physical distancing of 6 feet from other people who are not members of the same household or residence is not possible. There are some exceptions. North Carolina will also remain under Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until at least Friday, July 17.

June 26- Effective 5 p.m. Friday, June 26, North Carolinians must wear cloth coverings over their nose and mouth when in public places where physical distancing is not possible. Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings or masks, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus.

June 24-Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings while out in public where physical distancing of 6 feet from other people who are not members of the same household or residence is not possible. There are some exceptions. North Carolina will also remain under Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until at least Friday, July 17.

June 22-Through a public-private partnership, North Carolina has created the nation’s first statewide technology platform, NCCARE360, to coordinate whole-person care uniting traditional healthcare settings and organizations that address non-medical drivers of health, such as food, housing, transportation, employment and interpersonal safety. NCCARE360 is now available in all 100 counties.

June 16-The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is allocating $35 million in federal funding to local health departments to support the COVID-19 response. Per federal guidelines, counties will be able to use these funds to support COVID-19 staffing, infection controls, testing and tracing, IT infrastructure and data sharing and visualization.

June 8- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services issued health guidance for schools to resume in-person learning in the fall. Gov. Roy Cooper, however, said the decision to resume in-person learning would depend on health data and metrics. (View guidance)

June 4- Gov. Roy Cooper has signed Executive Order 143 to address the social, environmental, economic and health disparities in communities of color that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

May 30- Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 142 to extend the prohibition of utility shut-offs and implement a moratorium on evictions through July 29. The Order goes into effect today with the Governor’s signature. More information can be found in the FAQ document or read Executive Order 142.

May 22- Gov. Roy Cooper has announced Count on Me NC, a new free online training program to help restaurants, hotels and other businesses learn the best ways to help protect customers and employees from COVID-19.

May 20-North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22 and runs through at least Friday, June 26 unless changed or canceled. Although the state’s overall key indicators remain stable, the continued increases in daily case counts signals a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

May 15- New guidance from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recommends clinicians now test any patient suspected of having COVID-19 and provide access to testing, regardless of symptoms, for certain populations.

May 12-Gov. Cooper issued Executive Order 139, which provides additional regulatory flexibility to help ensure capacity in the state’s health care system and improve its ability to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 11-9,115 patients are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' COVID-19 Dashboard. Learn how this total is calculated in this summary

May 8- As Phase 1 begins, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is focused on testing, tracing and trends. North Carolina ranks 15th in the nation regarding total number of tests completed, and eight out of the 10 past days, has reached the goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests completed per day. While testing is on right track, it needs to increase, especially for North Carolina’s underserved communities. Securing sample collection supplies from the federal government, additional testing sites and expanded lab capacity will help meet testing goals.

May 5- Gov. Roy Cooper has signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions, effective Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m. (View FAQs. View what's new in Phase 1.)

May 4- Governor Roy Cooper signed the following COVID-19 relief bills into law. The relief package, which was passed unanimously, includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations. Of this amount, $1.4 billion has been appropriated and $150 million is set aside in a reserve fund for future local government needs

Senate Bill 704 was signed into law on May 4, 2020. The new law gives NCDMV the ability to extend the validity of vehicle registrations five months for any credential that expires March 1, 2020, through August 1, 2020. Further, it gives NCDMV the authority to waive penalties and interest for this time period. Read the FAQ

April 27- Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative, a new partnership with Community Care of North Carolina and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers is part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s initiative to slowly lift restrictions by focusing on testing, tracing and trends. Through this collaborative, up to 250 additional local staff will be hired and trained initially to support contact tracing efforts with the potential to add more. Recruitment will start immediately; interested applicants should visit the collaborative’s website.

April 24-Gov. Roy Cooper, along with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and N.C. State Board of Education Chairman Eric Davis, announced the decision to continue remote learning for the rest of  the 2019-2020 school year at K-12 public schools. Information on student grading for this school year will be sent to schools and parents soon. Teachers and school employees are to continue to work and they remain eligible to be paid. The opening of schools in summer and fall and the availability of summer camps are going to depend on meeting health guidelines.

April 23- Gov. Roy Cooper on April May 23 issued Executive Order 135, extending North Carolina’s Stay At Home order until May 8. Orders extending the closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses have also been extended through May 8. Read the order. View FAQs. 

April 23- Gov. Roy Cooper shared a three-phased approach, based on data, to lift restrictions. “The health and safety of people in North Carolina must be our top priority,” he said. “This plan provides a roadmap for us to begin easing restrictions in stages to push our economy forward.” View NC 3 Phase Plan presentation. 

April 21-Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new executive order allowing furloughed workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

April 20-North Carolina has been approved for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which will help families purchase food for children affected by school closings due to COVID-19. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is working to operationalize the program, and families will begin to receive this benefit in coming weeks.

April 17-NCDHHS convened a Testing Surge Workgroup to develop a plan to increase testing, expand testing sites and options, and address testing supply challenges, including the availability of personal protective equipment. 

April 15-Gov. Roy Cooper charted a path forward for eventually easing certain COVID-19 restrictions while still protecting North Carolinians from a dangerous second wave of the virus. To ease restrictions, the state needs to make more progress in three areas: testing, tracing and trends.

April 13-New social distancing policies went into effect at 5 p.m. that require stores to limit the number of customers inside, mark 6 feet of distance near areas where people gather (such as checkout lines) and to disinfect routinely. Stores are also encouraged to provide hand sanitizer & face coverings for employees. Read the press release or view FAQs.

April 9-Governor Roy Cooper took action to the address the spread of COVID-19 by issuing stronger social distancing requirements and speeding up the process to get benefits to people out of work through Executive Order No. 131The Order addresses the following:

  • Provides new required and recommended policies for retail establishments
  • Addresses COVID-19 mitigation measures for long-term care facilities
  • Expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims by expanding availability of the attached claims process

The NC Department of Insurance provided more information in a memo sent out on April 10 regarding retail occupancy restrictions Learn more by reviewing the Executive Order 131 FAQ sheet. 

April 8- Cooper signed Executive Order 130 to provide more access to health care beds, expands the pool of health care workers and orders essential childcare services for workers responding to COVID-19.

April 7- The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services established an Emergency Child Care Subsidy Program for essential workers as defined in Gov. Roy Cooper’s March 27 Executive Order 121. Essential worker emergency child care financial assistance will be offered through May and may be extended. To receive an emergency care subsidy, parents must complete the COVID-19 Parent Application for Financial Assistance for Emergency Child Care and submit it to their child care provider. Read the press release.

April 6Leading health scientists across public and private sectors presented information on predictive modeling data studying the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina. These experts released a composite modeling forecast looking at how COVID-19 could affect North Carolina in the coming months, showing that social distancing is necessary to slow the spread and preserve hospital capacity to save lives. Participants included representatives from Duke University, RTI International and the University of North Carolina.

March 31- Governor Cooper signs Executive Order 124 on March 31 prohibiting utilities, including electric, gas, water and wastewater services - from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. To learn more, read the FAQs.

March 30- Governor Cooper signs an Executive Order to get equipment to health care workers, schools and local governments

March 27- Governor Roy Cooper issues Executive Order 121, a statewide Stay at Home Order beginning Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. until April 29, 2020. The Executive Order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others. Read the press release and the FAQs.

March 23- Gov. Roy Cooper asks for health care volunteers to assist with COVID-19. 

March 21- Executive Order 119 waives restrictions on child care and elder care, provides DMV flexibilities.

March 19- U.S. Small Business Administration granted request for a disaster declaration for small businesses suffering economic losses due to COVID-19.

March 17- Governor Cooper issues an Executive Order to close sit-down service at restaurants and bars and makes state unemployment benefits more widely available.

March 14- Governor Cooper issues Executive Order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The order bans mass gatherings of more than 100 people across the state. It also closes K-12 public schools across the state beginning Monday, March 16 through March 30, unless extended. 

March 10- Governor Cooper Declares State of Emergency to respond to Coronavirus COVID-19

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