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 March 5, 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 seven 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 and Universal Healthcare. 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. Two COVID-19 clusters have been reported at Campbell University and Food Lion Distribution Center. 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
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. The Harnett County Health Department is currently scheduling first dose COVID-19 vaccines, by appointment only, for persons in Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3, which includes those 65 years or older, health care workers, K-12 school and childcare personnel, and frontline essential workers.
The Health Department will contact you when there is availability to schedule your vaccine appointment. As additional vaccines are received from the State of North Carolina, the Health Department 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 March each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 am until 4:00pm 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.
For more information regarding additional testing dates, visit www.harnett.org/health.
FRONTLINE ESSENTIAL WORKERS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations, March 3. The expedited timeline follows the approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to North Carolina.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes as the federal government has also increased vaccine in North Carolina beyond the state’s allocation. A new federally-supported site will open in Greensboro next week, and Walgreens is providing vaccine through the federal pharmacy program. While there is still not enough vaccine for everyone, the improved supply has contributed to providers reporting readiness to expand access to additional Group 3 essential workers. Under the timeline outlined today, providers may move to vaccinating these individuals on March 3. Sec. Cohen also unveiled a Public Service Announcement encouraging vaccine use among Group 3 essential workers. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)
State officials continue to encourage providers to exhaust each week’s vaccine shipment before the following week’s shipment arrives. Some vaccine providers may not be ready to open to frontline essential workers on March 3 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1, 2, and 3.
Gov. Cooper also outlined an expected timeline for beginning Group 4 vaccinations. Beginning on March 24, people at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions will become eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings. (See Deeper Dive for additional detail)
NCDHHS also shared clarifications for Groups 1 and 4. The definition of long-term care in Group 1 has been updated for people with intellectual and developmental disability. Higher-risk medical conditions for Group 4 include intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, and neurologic conditions, such as dementia.
Gov. Cooper will continue to advocate to increase vaccine supply in North Carolina. Since January 20, the amount of vaccine received by the state has increased by 135%.
This week, the federal government authorized the distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) one-shot vaccine and more than 80,000 doses are expected to arrive in the state beginning on Wednesday.
On March 10, a federally-supported community vaccination center will open in Greensboro. This site – one of just 18 sites nationally - will help the state continue its effort to reach more marginalized and underserved communities. The federal government will provide the center’s vaccine supply, which will be in addition to North Carolina’s weekly allotment from the Centers for Disease Control. It will operate seven days a week with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day, with options for drive-thru service in the parking lot and walk-in service.
State officials continue to prioritize speed and equity in vaccine distribution as eligibility prioritization expands. On February 26, the Kaiser Family Foundation ranked North Carolina as first in the nation for vaccinating the largest share of its 65 and older population.
Watch the DHHS Group 3 Vaccine PSA Here.
HARNETT COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS’ TRANSITION TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION
The Harnett County Board of Education announced that elementary schools would transition to a five-day in-person schedule during the March regular scheduled board meeting starting on March 22nd. The board adopted the 2021-2022 calendar, and revisions to the current school calendar were made. The current 2020-2021 calendar was revised to remove the two state-mandated remote learning days, March 26th and May 7th, to regular instruction days in the district. For the remainder of the 2021 school year, Harnett County Schools will transition to the following in-person schedule:
2020-2021 TRANSITION TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION SCHEDULE
March 22, 2021
K-5 students will return to 5-day in-person instruction.
EC self-contained students will return to 5-day in-person instruction.
March 26 and May 7, 2021
In-person instruction day (previously State Remote Learning Day).
COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD WORK SESSION ON MARCH 9
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next work session on Tuesday, March 9 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 March 9 work session agenda includes:
CURRENT NC COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
As North Carolina’s numbers continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases, Governor Roy Cooper announced that the state has carefully eased some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 195 went into effect on February 26th at 5 pm and will expire March 26th at 5 pm.
The Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space.
30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit
Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.
Read Executive Order No. 195.
TOOLS TO 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. Not all vaccine providers may be ready to vaccinate all eligible groups yet.
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.
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 in March. 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.
Free Tax Assistance. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.