Harnett County,
North Carolina

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Friday, October 16, 2020  |  Permalink

October 16 COVID-19 Update

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

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

  • COVID-19 Data Report
  • Update on NC COVID-19 Key Metrics
  • Commissioners to Hold Meeting on October 19
  • NCDHHS Provides COVID-19 Guidance for Early Voting
  • Cooper Announces New Rent & Utility Assistance Program

HARNETT COUNTY COVID-19 DATA
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 October 16, 2020 include:

  • Confirmed cases 2610
  • Active Cases 335
  • Recovered cases 2128
  • Deaths reported 68
  • Age range 1 week-101 years
  • Average Age 41
  • Positive Cases by Race 752 Hispanic, 1196 White, 609 Black, and 53 Other
  • Positive Cases by Ethnicity 752 Hispanic, 1805 Non-Hispanic and 53 Other
  • Gender 51% female and 49% 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.

Outbreaks and Clusters:  The Health Department is currently monitoring ten outbreaks and three clusters 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 a second COVID-19 outbreak:  Harnett Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Cornerstone Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Universal Healthcare, and Pinecrest Gardens.  Confirmation regarding positive cases of COVID-19 outbreaks are also reported at Emerald Health and Rehabilitation Center, Greenleaf Assisted Living, Oak Hill Center, Senior Citizens Village and Harmony Home., and one correctional institution, Harnett Correctional Institution.

Clusters:  A COVID-19 cluster is defined as a minimum of five laboratory-confirmed cases in close proximity. Three COVID-19 clusters have been reported, including two clusters at Campbell University and one cluster at the Summerville Bunnlevel Fire Department.  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 Health Department at 910-893-7550. VIEW REPORT

UPDATE ON NC COVID-19 KEY METRICS
This week, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen provided an update on North Carolina’s current COVID-19 key metrics and cautioned that people should continue to be vigilant and practice the 3 W’s to prevent the spread of the virus as the weather gets cooler this fall.

Dr. Cohen reviewed the state’s key metrics:

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

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

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing, but is lower than it was in July when we last had our highest rate of new cases.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days

  • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing, but we still have capacity.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention. Testing capacity continues to increase with upwards of 40,000 tests reported on peak days. We continue to hire contact tracers, and there have been more than 150,000 downloads of the NCDHHS exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC. North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

View the slides from the briefing.

COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD MEETING ON OCTOBER 19
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Monday, October 19, 2020 at 6:00 PM. A quorum of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners, staff, and a limited number of the public (12), all required to wear face coverings to enter the building, will be stationed in the meeting chambers to maintain the recommended social distancing of 6 feet. 

The meeting will also have options to attend the meeting virtually. Virtual attendees 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 October 19 meeting agenda includes:

  • Consent Agenda
  • Public Comment Period
  • Citizen Appointments to Boards & Committees
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Presentation
  • Public Hearing for Proposed Rezoning: Case # PLAN 2007-0002
  • Public Hearing for Proposed Rezoning: Case # PLAN 2008-0001
  • Public Hearing for a Text Amendment: Case # PLAN 2009-0001
  • County Manager’s Report

Learn more about the October 19 meeting.  

NCDHHS PROVIDES COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR EARLY VOTING
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing guidelines for voters and local polling locations to help protect the health of North Carolinians during the voting process. In addition, NCDHHS and the NC Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management provided personal protective equipment to local election boards and locations. 

North Carolina residents who plan to vote in-person should wear a face mask and keep it on throughout the voting process, stay 6 feet apart from others while at the polling location, and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after voting.

NCDHHS also issued guidelines to local polling locations to protect people while they vote, work or volunteer at voting locations. Masks are required in public and voting places must have enough masks to provide one to anyone who does not have one. If a voter has an exception for wearing a mask, election workers should try to accommodate them and should not turn voters away. 

Election workers at voting locations must routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as doors, tables and chairs, with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — especially during peak voting times. Many locations are providing single-use pens to voters.

The guidelines, adapted from the CDC’s Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters, also require elections officials to post signage at each voting place reminding voters and workers about social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Officials are required to provide physical markers, such as tape on floors or signs on walls, to help ensure people remain at least 6 feet apart. 

Additionally, county boards of elections must: 

  • Require election workers and observers to wear a mask when social distancing is or may not be possible, unless they state an exception applies. 
  • Require election workers to encourage people to wear a mask while they vote or campaign and offer masks to those who are not wearing them. 

To monitor the health of elections workers, county boards of elections are required to: 

  • Immediately separate and send home election workers who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers before opening the voting place each day.
  • Post signage at the main entrance asking people who have a fever and/or a cough not to enter. Signage from the NCDHHS Know your Ws campaign is available to download. 

All 100 county election offices have received gloves and face shields for poll workers; disposable masks for workers and others who do not have a mask; and hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and paper towels. Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s donated a portion of the hand sanitizer to the Association of State Election Directors. NCDHHS and NCDPS are providing the rest of the supplies and equipment. Additionally, the NC State Board of Elections is sending single-use pens to county election offices for use as needed.

Interim Guidance for Election Voting LocationsOpen PDF and guidelines for Voting Safely During COVID-19Open PDF can be found at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#election-voting.

View more information on early voting in Harnett County.

COOPER ANNOUNCES NEW RENT & UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Governor Roy Cooper announced that 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. The new program seeks to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic by providing rent and utility assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections.

The HOPE Program will provide $117 million for rent and utility assistance for renters who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have a current household income that is 80 percent of the area median income or lower, and are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply.

Renters who need rent or utility assistance can apply online at nc211.org/hope. Applicants who cannot access the online application can also call 2-1-1 and speak with a program representative, who will assist the caller through the application on the phone. Callers can reach 2-1-1 Monday-Friday between 7 am and 6 pm.

The HOPE Program is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant−Coronavirus funds and U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief funds, which have been provided to North Carolina. The funds are administered by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety, and will be distributed through community partner agencies across the state.

Renters can apply for utility assistance, rent assistance or both programs. Rent assistance is paid to the landlord on behalf of the applicant. This includes overdue and future rent payments, for up to six months. At least one month’s rent must be overdue at the time of application.

Utility payments will be made directly to the utility provider for up to six months of past due essential utilities, such as electricity, water, sewer/wastewater, natural gas and propane. For more information about the HOPE Program, visit nc211.org/hope.

COOPER MOVES NC TO PHASE 3
North Carolina will ease cautiously some restrictions while continuing safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s metrics remained stable in September, Governor Roy Cooper announced last week.

Executive Order 169 began on Friday, October 2 at 5 p.m. and will continue for three weeks through October 23. Its new provisions include: 

  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.  

State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 23. 

Read Executive Order 169.

Read the FAQs on Executive Order 169.

Read the slides from this week's briefing.

PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Health Department
Pink Ribbon Breakfast 2020.  The Harnett County Health Department announced the annual “Pink Ribbon Breakfast,” in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been cancelled due to increased concerns about COVID-19.  Public Health Officials felt this was the best way to proceed. We are disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our breast cancer survivors and families, however the safety of attendees must always come first.  Throughout the month of October, the Health Department will be providing access to mobile mammography screenings, and providing health information and resources for women.  For more information, contact the Harnett County Health Department at 910-893-7550 or log onto the Health Department’s web site located at www.harnett.org/health.

Be Smart, Eat Smart Wellness Challenge. The Be Smart, Eat Smart Wellness Challenge will take place October 19th-November 15th.  It is a virtual program that helps participants eat healthy by focuses on the following healthy eating strategies:  Enjoying More Fruits & Vegetables, Rethinking Your Drink, Enjoying More Whole Grains, and Right-Sizing Your Portions.  During the challenge, participants will receive newsletters with the benefits of adopting healthy behaviors, receive healthy recipes, earn points for practicing the healthy eating strategies each day during the challenge, and track points in the challenge log.  All participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes at the completion of the program.  For more information or to register call 910-814-6196. The registration deadline is Friday, October 16thLearn more

Harnett County Public Library
The Harnett County Public Library is open with some service limitations. The number of customers allowed in the building will be limited.  Patrons are required to wear masks and are encouraged to complete their library transactions and exit the building as quickly as possible so that library staff can safely accommodate others.

The Harnett County Public Library continues to provide access to content that enriches the lives of our community. This includes:

  • Online library card registration
  • Curbside item pickup on Monday through Friday from 10:00am-4:00pm
  • 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.

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. 

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

Book Bundles. Need a great story for your little ones? We’ve got you covered! The Harnett County Public Library now offers Book Bundles! Book Bundles are a selection of 5-7 storybooks picked out by our librarians and put together by a certain theme. We’ve got fairy tales, dinosaurs, bedtime stories, and so much more! You can check out a book bundle in the library or pick one up curbside. Call 910-893-3446 to reserve your Book Bundle today!

Virtual Youth Programming Resumes. Youth programming including virtual storytimes, digital library rooms, and Take & Make STEAM activities for school-aged children and teens will resume in September. Please visit the HCPL Facebook page or library website for more information.

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 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.  

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.

VIEW CHECKLIST FOR DEVELOPING A REOPENING PLAN

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
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 NCDHHS Guidance on Face Coverings

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.

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.

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.

NCDHHS has released an updated “What to Do If You Feel Sick Fact sheet”. View in English.  View in Spanish

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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