Brunswick County update on coronavirus preparations, health recommendations (March 12, 2020)
- BSRI senior centers will close to the public beginning Monday, March 16. BSRI staff are planning to prepare meals for pick up via drive-thru or home delivery during the centers’ closures. Individuals currently receiving home-delivered meals will have no interruptions to their service.
- County offices, parks and libraries will remain open as usual at this time.
- All county-organized library and Cooperative Extension events are suspended and all park activities and programs are canceled effective immediately.
- All County Commissioner and board meetings will continue as scheduled at this time.
- There are no confirmed positive cases of novel coronavirus in Brunswick County as of March 12.
- Brunswick County has had its novel coronavirus emergency plan in place for the past two months and continues to work and communicate with local partners on proactive preparations.
- Individuals who suspect they might have COVID-19 should reach out to your primary care provider first before traveling to their site to alert them of your symptoms so they can make appropriate steps to protect you and others.
- Individuals with specific questions about COVID-19 are encouraged to call the Public Health Call Line at 1-866-462-3821 or visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County is taking additional proactive actions today per the guidance of state and local leadership and health professionals to prepare for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
At this time, all Brunswick County offices, parks, and libraries will remain open at regular hours as usual. Per the guidance from the Office of Governor Roy Cooper to cancel or postpone mass gatherings of 100 people or greater, all Brunswick Senior Resources Inc (BSRI) senior centers will close to the public starting Monday, March 16 until further notice. Individuals currently receiving home-delivered meals will have no interruptions to their service. BSRI staff will begin transitioning for the closure Friday and are planning for the preparation of meals for pick up via drive-thru or home delivery during the centers’ closures. More information about the coordination of these services will be available in the near future.
The County is also suspending county-sponsored activities at its libraries and Cooperative Extension site immediately and all park activities and programs are canceled until further notice. Outside group activities hosted at county facilities or parks are also being advised to cancel their events. All County Commissioner and board meetings will continue as scheduled.
The County is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the state and will conduct regular updates to address any changes or adjustments to county event schedules. As of Thursday, March 12, there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Brunswick County. There are currently 14 presumptive positive cases and one confirmed positive case for a total of 15 in the state.
The County has taken pre-emptive measures at its county buildings and libraries to provide hand sanitizing dispensers and best health practice information to staff. Additionally, the County has limited its staff travel to conferences or meetings to within Brunswick County and neighboring counties only through May 1, 2020.
BSRI had also already implemented initial precautions including additional staff training on food preparation, regular cleaning of surfaces with wipes, encouraging handwashing, and placing sanitizer dispensers at its senior center sites.
County emergency preparations and proactive efforts
Brunswick County Health and Human Services has had emergency plans for COVID-19 in place for the past two months with its state and local partners, including local hospitals, Brunswick County Emergency Services, Brunswick County Schools, and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. The County is conducting routine conference calls with our partners for updates, to answer questions, and coordinate resources.
The County is also in regular communication with long-term care facilities in the county to review their infection control plans and to ensure all steps are being followed.
The County is strongly encouraging residents to follow the recommendations from the Office of the Governor and the NC DHHS and to follow safe hygiene practices.
These recommendations are for individuals with a higher risk of severe illness, which includes adults over 65 years, those with underlying health conditions including include heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or with weakened immune systems. Recommendations include:
- High Risk Persons: Avoid large groups of people as much as possible. This includes gatherings such as concert venues, conventions, church services, sporting events, and crowded social events. People at high risk should also avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- Congregate Living Facilities: NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should limit visitors and restrict all visitors who have respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. These establishments include: nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.
- Mass Gathering Events: NC DHHS recommends that event organizers:
- Urge anyone who is sick to not attend.
- Encourage those who are at high risk, described above, to not attend.
- Adopt lenient refund policies for people who are high risk.
- Find ways to give people more physical space to limit close contact as much as possible.
- Encourage attendees to wash hands frequently.
- Clean surfaces with standard cleaners.
- All Travelers: NC DHHS recommends that all travelers returning from countries and US states impacted by COVID-19 follow DHHS guidance on self-monitoring: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/coronavirus.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
Frequently Asked Questions
See the NC DHHS FAQs on Coronavirus at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19
What is the County doing to prepare for coronavirus?
- Brunswick County Health and Human Services has reviewed and modified emergency plans for COVID-19 the past two months with its state and local partners, including local hospitals, Brunswick County Emergency Services, Brunswick County Schools, and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. The department is also sharing memos it receives from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) with local health providers and hospitals that address criteria to evaluate patients who potentially are positive for COVID-19, reporting obligations, infection control guidance, and testing information.
- The County is also answering local providers’ questions concerning patients with symptoms or travel histories to areas with higher levels of COVID-19 cases. Weekly call-in updates are made with the North Carolina CD Branch, and preparedness meetings with local partners and agencies are also taking place.
- In the event of a confirmed case in Brunswick County, the County will have a partial activation of its Emergency Operations Center to monitor, share updates, and answer questions from the community.
Has the County closed or made changes to any events or programming at this time?
- At this time, all Brunswick County offices, parks, libraries will remain open at regular hours as usual. The County is suspending county-sponsored activities at its libraries immediately until further notice. The County is also recommending all outside event organizers hosting events at county facilities or parks to cancel their events. All County Commissioner and board meetings will continue as scheduled.
Are there any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brunswick County.
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
- First, call your private practice and inform them about your symptoms. You should reach out to your primary care provider first before traveling to their site to alert them of your symptoms so they can make appropriate steps to protect you and others.
- Local area hospitals may have implemented restricted visitation or other requirements at their sites. You should reach out to your primary care provider first.
- According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include fever (100.5 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, and shortness of breath.
Are there COVID-19 tests available in Brunswick County?
- Yes, there have been test available the past two weeks. Test kits became available through private labs one week ago, and NC DHHS has authorized private practices to order tests through these labs. Call your primary care provider first before arriving to the site to discuss your symptoms to determine whether you need a COVID-19 test.
Helpful Links and Resources
Residents can find information and receive updates from the County as they are issued a number of ways:
For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email [email protected]
Public Information Officer
Brunswick County Government
Post Office Box 249
Bolivia, North Carolina 28422