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 weekly 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
Highlights of the data derived from the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Harnett County as of May 28, 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 one outbreak for COVID-19. In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases at Harnett Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation 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 or visit the Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health. VIEW REPORT
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES FOR HARNETT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine approved for Children and Teens. The Harnett County Health Department is administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens 12-15 years of age. Getting your teen vaccinated is the best way to protect them, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect family members and others. The COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge to all individuals, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. If you would like to make an appointment online, visit the Health Department’s web site www.harnett.org/health and click on COVID-19 Vaccine Inquiry or call the Health Department at 910-814-6582. All vaccinations will be administered by appointment at the Health Department, located within the Governmental Complex at 307 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd in Lillington.
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics. The Harnett County Health Department is providing first and second dose vaccination appointments for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the public for anyone age 12 and over. The Health Department also provides the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, which is recommended for people aged 18 years and older. The COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge to all individuals, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. If you would like to make an appointment online, visit the Health Department’s web site located at www.harnett.org/health click on the link for COVID-19 Vaccine Inquiry or call the Health Department at 910-814-6582. All vaccinations will be administered by appointment at the Health Department, located within the Governmental Complex at 307 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd in Lillington.
For more information, please visit our vaccine information webpage https://www.harnett.org/publicinfo/covid19-vaccine-information.asp.
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.
For more information regarding additional COVID-19 testing dates, visit the Health Department’s website located at www.harnett.org/health.
COOPER ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO HELP NORTH CAROLINIANS RETURN TO WORK
Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Commerce to encourage and help people who are receiving unemployment benefits transition back into employment.
Under Executive Order 216, all existing claimants of unemployment benefits will be required to fulfill work search requirements beginning June 6, 2021. All existing claimants will be required over the next several weeks to register with a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov.
The Order also directs the N.C. Department of Commerce to explore opportunities, consistent with federal law and through the use of certain federal funds, to establish a reemployment incentive program for jobless workers who find and maintain employment.
Today’s action expands upon Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 200, which reinstated work search requirements for new claimants after March 14, 2021. As North Carolina makes progress on its key COVID-19 metrics, the work search requirements will now apply to everyone currently filing for unemployment benefits.
Under the Order:
Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina has distributed more than $11.7 billion in unemployment benefits across multiple state and federal programs. Approximately 245,000 North Carolinians are currently receiving benefit payments each week.
Read the Order.
COOPER ANNOUNCES $51.4M IN EDUCATION GRANTS, NEW FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM
Governor Cooper directed $51.4 million in new funding to help students access and complete postsecondary education as the state recovers from the pandemic.
The Governor will invest $44 million of the funds to help students access college and earn degrees starting this fall; $5 million to support mental health initiatives across state postsecondary institutions; and $2.4 million into equity-focused initiatives for K-12 and postsecondary students and families.
The funding is North Carolina’s share of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, federal dollars that aim to help school districts, postsecondary institutions, or other education-related entities address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this package, the Governor will launch the Longleaf Commitment program, a $31.5 million investment to guarantee that graduating high school seniors from low- and middle-income families receive at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. The Commitment program will supplement the federal Pell grant and existing aid by providing an additional $700 to $2,800 grant per year for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years for students to earn an associate degree and/or credits to transfer to a four-year college or university in North Carolina. Additional details on how students can apply for these grants will be available at www.nccommunitycolleges.edu.
To support student success after enrollment, the Longleaf Commitment program will also provide matching grants to help colleges expand student advising, success coaching, and related services.
The Longleaf Commitment leverages the Governor’s discretionary GEER aid as a first step toward the more robust NC Guarantee grant program, which the Governor proposed through the American Rescue Plan Act funding. If enacted, the NC Guarantee would ensure that students from eligible families receive at least $6,000 per year in federal and state grants toward attending any UNC institution or North Carolina Community College.
The Governor will also launch the Longleaf Complete program to help college students whose education has been interrupted during the pandemic complete their degrees. $12.5 million in flexible funding will help the UNC System Office, NC Community College System, and independent colleges and universities provide financial aid or expand student support services to help students who are near completion of their degree or credential and need the extra help.
Beyond college affordability, Governor Cooper is directing $5 million to the UNC System Office to rapidly expand mental health services for students across the state. According to UNC, 8 in 10 students say their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. National data reinforces the urgent need to supply campus communities with the training, resources, and expertise to better support students, staff, and faculty. To the extent practicable, the UNC System Office will extend access to training and shared services to institutions outside of the UNC system in consultation with community colleges and independent colleges and universities.
The higher education actions build on the Governor’s recommendation to use federal American Rescue Plan funds to help at least 200,000 more people attain degrees or trade certificates by 2025.
The package will also improve data and expand equity initiatives through the following programs:
North Carolina previously received $95.6 million in GEER I funds under the CARES Act. Aid from the first GEER package, which the Governor announced in the fall, has been used to hire student health staff and academic support personnel in more than 170 school districts and charter schools, help more than 5,200 students pursue industry-recognized credentials, and provide emergency financial aid to more than 6,900 college students.
In December, the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act allocated $42.2 million in GEER II funds to North Carolina. GEER II aid will be available for use through September 30, 2023. The awards from today’s announcement include $9.4 million in remaining GEER I funds and $42.0 million in GEER II funds.
View the GEER II Fact Sheet.
NCDHHS URGES NORTH CAROLINIANS TO ‘VAX UP OR MASK UP’
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is launching a new public campaign encouraging North Carolinians to "Vax Up or Mask Up” to support the new guidance that lifts many of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Vaccines have proven to protect people from COVID-19. To date, nearly half of the state has been fully vaccinated and everyone age 12 and up can get the vaccine (YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov). But for those who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19, wearing a mask is essential to protect themselves and the people they love. The CDC recommends that anyone who is not vaccinated continue to wear a mask in public indoor settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain social distance.
NCDHHS recommends businesses and community organizations post signage reminding employees and visitors to wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated. Because it can be hard to know who is vaccinated and who is not, employers may decide to post signage asking all employees and visitors to wear a face covering until more people in North Carolina are vaccinated. The campaign provides downloadable flyers and social media graphics in both English and Spanish to help transition from the 3 Ws messaging to the new "Vax Up or Mask Up" campaign. Materials are available for download at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/communications-toolkit.
Under Executive Order 215Open PDF, masks are still required in certain settings, such as child care centers, schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices and other high risk settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
People who are fully vaccinated can do many of the things that they did before the pandemic. With the exception of the settings included in Executive Order 215, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask or practice social distancing, although they may choose to do so. They also do not have to quarantine or get tested if they are exposed to COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
Unvaccinated people will still need to do these things. Masks are strongly recommended for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — at large crowded indoor events like sporting events and live performances. Read NCDHHS Recommendations for Protecting Each Other from COVID-19.
GOVERNOR COOPER LIFTS MANY COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. shared an update on the state’s COVID-19 progress. Throughout the pandemic, state officials have taken a data-driven approach and have been guided by the science in making decisions. Following yesterday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others, the state will remove its indoor mask mandate for most settings. Additionally, the state will lift all mass gathering limits and social distancing requirements. These changes are now in effect as of 1:30 PM on May 14.
The ability to lift restrictions sooner than anticipated following the CDC’s guidance shows the importance of vaccinating all North Carolinians. As of this week, even more people can get vaccinated. Younger teens between 12 and 15 can now get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Young people are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, just like everyone else, and the percent of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina children 17 and under has been increasing.
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7.7 million doses. 51% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 46% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.
In accordance with the new CDC guidance, there will still be certain settings where masks and other safety measures will be required. Masks will still be required in child care, schools and camps as most children are either not yet vaccinated or are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Everyone, including people who are fully vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask in certain settings such as public transportation, health care settings like hospitals, doctor’s offices and long-term care settings like nursing homes, and certain congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
NCDHHS will continue to have strong public health recommendations for individuals to continue to protect one another until more people are vaccinated. People who are not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor public settings and in outdoor settings when they can't maintain six feet of distance.
Masks are strongly recommended for everyone at large crowded indoor events like sporting events and live performances.
NCDHHS recommends public facing businesses post signage reminding guests to social distance and wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated; remind employees to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19; have a plan to immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and clean high-touch surfaces once a day. Businesses may choose to continue to require that their customers wear masks.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also continue to expand strategies to reach people who have not yet gotten vaccinated.
Information on the state’s vaccine distribution is available at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). People can find nearby vaccine providers using NCDHHS’ online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline number is 888-675-4567.
Read the Executive Order.
Read a FAQ about Order.
PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES FOR HARNETT COUNTY RESIDENTS
Harnett County Health Department
Healthy Habits for Life. Harnett County Department of Public Health will host the “Healthy Habits for Life” Virtual Program on Tuesday, June 15 through July 6 from 12:00pm-1:00pm. Healthy Habits for Life consists of four weekly sessions that will cover various healthy lifestyle topics such as healthy eating, stress management, and fitting in physical activity. This program is free; however, registration is required. To register, call 910-814-6196 or visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/HCHDHealthyHabits. The registration deadline is Friday, June 10, 2021. VIEW FLYER
Harnett County Public Library
The Harnett County Public Library opened for public access on Monday, April 26. The library will remain open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Curbside services will continue to be available Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. An outdoor book return drop box will also be available for residents to return books after hours.
“The new library offers a welcoming, inspiring, and open atmosphere for patrons to learn, discover, create, and succeed. Amenities and features of the new library are a children’s programming room, makerspaces, study space, Teen Zone, and a public meeting room,” stated Angela McCauley, Harnett County Public Library Director. “We are thrilled that the citizens of Harnett County will have access to a modern facility that provides a wide selection of popular books and services, opportunities for personal growth and development, STEM activities, and educational entertainment.”
For more information on Harnett County Public Library’s Curbside services or upcoming programs, visit https://harnett.libguides.com/hcpl or call 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
2021 Summer Day Camp. Looking for a fun, summer day camp? Sign up for our Parks & Recreation 2021 Summer Day Camp. Sessions start on June 7 and run through August 20. Camp will be held on weekdays from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM at the Boone Trail Community Center, located at 8500 Old US 421, Lillington. Cost per child is $110 per session for In-County residents and $120 per child per session for out of county residents. Spots are extremely limited, so register today!
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.
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.
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.
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.