Note: Harnett County Government plans to combine all COVID-19 related updates into one press release each week. Moving forward, press releases will be sent each 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
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. 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. Scientific research shows that preventative measures such as hand washing and wearing cloth coverings over the nose and mouth are effective ways to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities by lowering risk of exposure to COVID-19. Highlights of the data derived from the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Harnett County as of July 2, 2020 include:
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.
Confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 associated with Assisted Living facility. The Harnett County Health Department received confirmation regarding positive cases of COVID-19 at Pinecrest Gardens an Assisted Living facility located in Lillington. The confirmed cases at Pinecrest have been with residents and staff of the facility. A COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory confirmed cases. Congregate living guidance has been provided to the facility by Harnett County Health Department staff, including adherence to infection prevention precautions for residents and staff 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.
COMMISSIONERS ISSUE FACE COVERING EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION
At the June 30 Harnett County Board of Commissioners work session, Commissioners approved a Face Covering Emergency Proclamation in response to Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide requirement for face coverings.
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. With the announcement of the Face Covering Emergency Proclamation, all members of the public who are present in any Harnett County building or facility will be required to wear a clean face cloth covering.
Harnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Howard Penny Jr., announced the proclamation for Harnett County as a “precautionary measure to help stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread within the County. We ask that citizens remain calm and continue following the guidelines established by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during this event.”
Penny continued to encourage citizens to take precautionary actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and practice their 3-Ws. “All residents should continue practicing the 3-Ws to protect themselves and others when leaving home. Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people. Wait 6 feet apart and avoid close contact. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. These guidelines are in place for your safety and those of your fellow residents. The more people that adhere to these guidelines, the sooner the Coronavirus threat will pass.”
County Manager Paula Stewart also implemented a face covering requirement for all Harnett County employees. “All County employees will be required to use face coverings in County facilities when they are in public spaces, such as hallways, meeting rooms and break rooms, and when they are assisting the public,” stated Stewart. “Harnett County’s number of positive cases have increased dramatically in the last month – more than doubling from the total number of cases we had in May. More positive cases mean more opportunities for transmission of COVID-19, which is why I believe we need to do what we can to protect both the public and our employees.”
To learn more about the Harnett County face covering requirements and exemptions, click here.
For more information on COVID-19 from Harnett County Government, visit www.harnett.org.
NCDHHS LAUNCHES TESTING INITIATIVE FOR NURSING HOMES
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) will partner with Omnicare, a CVS Health company, to make facility-wide testing available to residents and staff in all North Carolina skilled nursing facilities. There are over 400 nursing homes in the state with approximately 36,000 residents and more than 30,000 staff. Testing will begin in July and continue through August.
NCDHHS already recommends that nursing homes with one or more cases test all staff and residents. This initiative further makes testing available to all nursing homes to conduct a baseline test of all residents and staff.
CVS Health will bill insurance as possible, and NCDHHS will cover any additional costs for testing. Facilities should continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for repeat testing and work with community and private vendors to support ongoing testing needs.
These actions build on earlier measures North Carolina has taken to protect residents and staff in long-term facilities, including:
A list of additional guidance for long-term care facilities can be found here: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#long-term-care-facilities.
For more information about North Carolina’s response to COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19.
COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD MEETING ON JULY 6
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Monday, July 6, 2020 at 9:00am. To comply with the Governor’s Executive Orders and recommendations from the CDC and NCDHHS, the Harnett County Board of Commissioners and staff will be stationed in the meeting chambers to maintain the recommended social distancing of 6 feet. 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.
The July 6 meeting will include:
There will be no public comment period scheduled for the July 6 meeting. General Statute dictates that the Board only provide a public comment period once a month. There will be a public comment period available at the July 20 meeting.
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 meeting will be recorded and an audio recording of the meeting will be posted on the Harnett County website following the meeting.
To learn more about the July 6 meeting, visit http://www.harnett.org/boc/Default.asp?a=5841.
PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Public Library
Summer Reading Program. Are you ready to Imagine Your Story with us this Summer? This year’s Summer Reading Program will be fully virtual for both adults and children and there will still be plenty of Summer Reading Fun! The weekly lineup for children’s online programs and activities will include:
We’ll have bags full of crafts and activities, book bundles, and summer reading logs – all available for curbside pickup! The next grab and go summer bag for school aged children and teens will be available July 6th.
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. The Harnett County Public Library continues to provide access to content that enriches the lives of our community. This includes:
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 Thursday from 9:00am-6:00pm and 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 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 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.
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, RTI, Wake 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.
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.
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.
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 through July 17. 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.
Read Executive Order No. 147 that implements today’s announcement.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about today’s executive Order and mandatory face coverings.
View the slide presentation from today’s briefing.
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. 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.
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.
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.
You can view this information from NCDHHS by viewing the COVID-19: What to Do If You Feel Sick information handout.
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.