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 April 16, 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 four outbreaks and/or clusters for COVID-19. In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases. Two correctional institutions are experiencing at outbreak, 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. 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 or visit the Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health. VIEW REPORT
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES FOR HARNETT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
First Dose Vaccine Appointments. Effective April 7, 2021, Harnett County Health Department began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to all vaccine groups. This includes: Group 1-health care workers, Group 2-persons 65 years or older, Group 3-school and childcare personnel and essential workers, Group 4-Adults at High Risk for Exposure and Increased Risk of Severe Illness and Group 5-anyone age 16 and up.
The Health Department will be administering first dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by appointment only.
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, log onto the Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health and click on COVID-19 Vaccine Inquiry or call 910-814-6582. We will contact you to schedule your vaccine appointment. If you have already called or emailed and provided your contact information, no additional action is needed. We will continue to work through the waiting list. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.
Second Dose Appointments. Anyone that received their first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Harnett County Health Department will be contacted by telephone and provided with the date, time and location of their second dose vaccination clinic. You will receive the same type of vaccine for both the first and second dose. Please remember to bring your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card with you. Individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccine through another provider should contact that provider directly for guidance on obtaining the second dose. The second dose, like the first dose of the vaccine, will be provided at no cost. For more information visit the Health Department’s web site located at www.harnett.org/health.
NO-COST COVID-19 TESTING CLINICS
Getting a test is the best way to protect your family, friends and loved ones.
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.
FOOD & NUTRITION SERVICES PARTICIPANTS CAN USE BENEFITS ONLINE AT PUBLIX
North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services participants can now purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at an additional authorized online EBT retailer, Publix Super Markets Inc. This flexibility will allow participants to buy food while promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will help families with transportation and mobility barriers.
Publix becomes the seventh North Carolina EBT retailer — along with ALDI, Amazon, BJ’s, Carlie C’s, Food Lion, and Walmart — to be approved for online FNS purchases. In May 2020, North Carolina was one of the first 10 states to implement online purchasing for FNS and currently has the most authorized online retailers in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
FNS participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items from online retailers but will not be able to use their benefits to pay for service or delivery charges. The participant will be required to pay for these charges with another form of payment, such as a debit or credit card.
Online shopping system can provide several benefits to the citizens of North Carolina, such as:
Online purchasing which will remain permanently in place beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USDA must approve retailers who wish to participate in the FNS online purchasing program. NCDHHS encourages other EBT retailers to pursue USDA approval to become authorized online retailers. All EBT retailers in North Carolina have received information from USDA about how to become approved for online FNS purchases. More information for retailers is available on the USDA website.
More information about North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/food-nutrition-services-food-stamps, and North Carolina individuals and families can apply for FNS at epass.nc.gov.
COMMISSIONERS TO HOLD MEETING ON APRIL 19
The Harnett County Board of Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Monday, April 19 at 6:00 PM. 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 be open to a limited number of the public to attend in person, and 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.
General Statute dictates that the Board provide public comment once a month. There will be a public comment period available on April 19th, 2021. Citizens may submit their comments in writing to email@example.com no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, April 19th and comments will be read aloud during the meeting as time allows. If you prefer to call in and provide your comments verbally, you may do so by dialing (910)814-6959 at 6:00 pm on April 19th.
The April 19 meeting agenda includes:
GOV. COOPER RELAXES SOME COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
Governor Roy Cooper announced that the state will continue to ease some COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 204 will take effect March 26 at 5 pm is set to expire April 30 at 5 pm. The state’s general mask mandate remains in effect.
Executive Order No. 204 has three general categories of occupancy restrictions: up to 100 percent capacity, 75 percent capacity, and 50 percent capacity. All businesses must continue to maintain the 6 feet of distance requirement between patrons and implement other safety protocols as they expand their capacity.
Executive Order No. 204 will also increase mass gathering limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 25 to 50 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 50 to 100. This Order also fully lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments.
Indoors and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
Indoors up to 75% and Outdoors up to 100% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
Indoors and Outdoors up to 50% Capacity, Subject to Masks and 6 ft. Social Distancing
*Movie theaters and gaming facilities may operate at up to 75% capacity outdoors.
Activities and settings are lower risk when they involve interacting with fewer people, being outside, keeping masks on the entire time, keeping interactions with people short (under 15 minutes), staying physically distant, and avoiding singing, yelling, and cheering, according to public health officials.
North Carolina is continuing to see fast and fair vaccine distribution. To date, the state has administered over 4.1 million doses. Over 31.7 percent of people 18 and up have received at least one dose, and 18.8 percent are fully vaccinated. Vaccine equity efforts remain a priority, with 18 percent of first doses administered to Black North Carolinians and 8 percent to members of the LatinX community last week.
DHHS also released updates to the K-12 guidance. Schools should return to in-person instruction to the fullest extent possible while following all public health protocols in the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit. This update aligns with Session Law 2021-4, which Governor Cooper and bipartisan legislative leadership worked on together. Plan A has already been widely adopted across the state as districts, educators and support staff have worked hard to get students back in the classroom. The updated Toolkit no longer requires schools to do daily temperature checks and symptom screenings. Safety protocols such as masks and cleaning of high traffic areas are still required. Schools are also highly encouraged to conduct free screening testing as recommended by the CDC. (Read the updated Toolkit)
State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to have a mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.
Read Executive Order No. 204.
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 Public Library
The Harnett County Public Library is happy to announce that library patrons can request items from our catalog by either placing holds online, or calling the library at (910) 893-3446 and requesting a curbside pickup. This service is only available Monday-Friday from 9:00-4:00 while we are closed to the public. You must request items online or call to request curbside pickup. Items will not be released without an appointment. All items must be picked up at the new Harnett County Resource Center and Library at 455 McKinney Parkway in Lillington.
Visit the Harnett County Public Library’s COVID-19 Resources webpage for the latest information about library programs and services.
StudentAccess Updated. StudentAccess, an online student library card initiative that began last year between the Harnett County Public Library and the Harnett County Public School System, was recently updated for the 2020-2021 school year. New and incoming students now have access to all of the educational electronic resources the Harnett County Public Library has to offer. Animated picture books, e-books, homework help, language learning apps, and so much more are now just a click away. To take advantage of this resource, students should first go to the library’s website at www.harnett.org/library and visit the Kids e-library page. To login to any of the e-resources, students will use their PowerSchool Student ID number as their library card number and the last 4 digits of that number will serve as their pin.
Harnett County Parks & Recreation
Virtual Nature Hikes. Harnett County Parks and Recreation launched a virtual nature hike series in May. The first hike at Anderson Creek County Park explored the many different elements of a Long Leaf Pine Ecosystem. This multi-part series explored some basics of a long leaf line ecosystem, including plant life, signs of local wildlife, the benefits of conducting prescribed burns, etc. The second hike was held at the Cape Fear River Trail Park in Erwin and explored many interesting finds at the park such as the very large "grandfather trees", observed flora and fauna, and the soothing sounds of the Cape Fear River waters.
All parts of these virtual hikes can be found on the Harnett County Parks and Recreation YouTube Channel.
Virtual Art Lessons. Harnett County Parks & Recreation has partnered with Elyse Johnson with Artifactual to bring you virtual art lessons. You can view all of the previous art lessons on the Harnett County Parks & Recreation Facebook page.
HARNETT COUNTY BUSINESS RESOURCES
Harnett County Economic Development
Harnett County Economic Development has compiled the latest COVID-19 information and resources for businesses in Harnett County. If your company is considering transitioning to production of medical supplies or equipment, please contact Angie Stewart at 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.
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, Register of Deeds Office, 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 some office buildings are 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.
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.