Brunswick County continues to stress social distancing, reminds restaurants on rules in recent executive order (March 19, 2020 Coronavirus Update)
- As of March 19, there are two presumptive positive cases in Brunswick County; Brunswick County received information concerning the second case the evening of Thursday, March 19
- Governor Roy Cooper and the NC DHHS announced today that there is now evidence of community spread of the novel coronavirus in the state
- The County reminds all owners, lessees, operators, or other persons in control of a restaurant that they must close all restaurant seating areas immediately
- The County will close all five libraries effective end of day March 19; staff are available to answer questions via phone/email and eBooks will be available
- Testing is available in Brunswick County; if you suspect you have coronavirus symptoms, contact your primary medical provider first to determine if your symptoms warrant a test and if they provide tests; contact Public Health if you need assistance locating a provider to test
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Social distancing and adherence to the governor’s and NC Department of Health and Human Services health guidelines and mandates remain a crucial strategy to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after Governor Roy Cooper and the NC DHHS announced today that there is now evidence of community spread of the virus in the state.
All residents regardless of how young they might be or how healthy they feel need to limit their activities in the public to those that are only essential such as attending work or grocery shopping and should maintain at least six feet of distance from other people.
As of March 19, there are two presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus in Brunswick County. The County received information concerning the second case the evening of Thursday, March 19 and full details are available at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/brunswick-county-identifies-second-presumptive-case-of-novel-coronavirus/
Brunswick County considers and responds to presumptive positive cases as if they were positive, even while awaiting official confirmation of results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of March 19 at 4 p.m., there are 97 positive cases in North Carolina and no deaths. Nationally there are 7,087 cases and 97 deaths.
Brunswick County continues to receive notices of test samples collected across the county and is actively working through its emergency response plans to further mitigate the situation.
The County also announced today that it is closing all five libraries effective end of day March 19. Library staff are still available to answer questions via phone and email during the closures and the County will waive any overdue fines during this time. Also, eBooks through Axis360 and kids’ eBooks through NC-Kids will be available as usual. Free Library Wi-Fi will remain online and is accessible from library parking lots in most cases for individuals who still need internet service.
Full details are at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/brunswick-county-announces-closure-of-libraries-for-protective-measures-reminds-residents-of-virtual-services-contact-options/
Details about Executive Order No. 118 Limiting Operations at Restaurants and Bars
Additionally, there has been some confusion about the executive order issued Tuesday that required all restaurants and bars to close to dine-in patrons beginning at 5 p.m. March 17, particularly regarding indoor and outdoor seating.
Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 130A-20(a), the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, declared that the use of seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID- 19 under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-2(3). Therefore, all owners, lessees, operators, or other persons in control of a restaurant shall close all restaurant seating areas immediately.
According to the executive order, all restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure that food is available while also enabling social distancing among restaurant staff and patrons. All bars (establishments that are not restaurants and have a permit to sell alcoholic beverages) were required to close Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Failure to comply with the executive order may result in injunctive relief or prosecution for a misdemeanor offense.
The NC DHHS has a list of frequently asked questions for owners, lessees, operators or other persons in control of a restaurant or bar at https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/03-17-20-EOFAQ-FINAL.pdf
We recognize that this is a difficult situation for our local restaurants and bar owners and staff. The County has an organized list of businesses resources online at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/health/coronavirus/businessresources/
Governor Cooper’s executive order also lifts some restrictions on unemployment benefits to help workers unemployed due to Covid-19 and those who are employed but will not receive a paycheck. More details are at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/governor-cooper-issues-executive-order-close-sit-down-service-restaurants-and
The U.S. Small Business Administration also granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses that are suffering economic losses due to coronavirus. More details on how to apply are at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/us-small-business-administration-grants-governor-cooper%E2%80%99s-request-disaster
Why Social Distancing is Critical
Social distancing means the avoidance of crowded places and maintaining distances of at least six feet from other people to try to deter the spread of the virus.
A lot of messaging has stressed that individuals who are sick or who have a high risk of severe illness such as those aged 65 and over should stay home. However, this does not limit social distancing to only to these individuals.
All younger people—including children, teenagers and young adults—still need to follow social distancing guidelines at this time: stay home as much as possible, seek online, phone, email, social media or teleworking options when available, and keep a distance of six feet between you and other individuals to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus.
State government has already taken a number of proactive steps to try to prevent the further spread of coronavirus through social distancing mandates, including the closure of public schools for two weeks, the ban of mass gatherings of more than 100 people, and requiring all restaurants and bars to close to dine-in customers (takeout and delivery options are still available).
Brunswick County continues to hold daily conference calls with our community partners, including representatives from county leadership, Health and Human Services, Emergency Services, municipal representatives, local hospitals, Brunswick County Schools, and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
Questions about Tests and Test Results
Novel Coronavirus Test Reports in Brunswick County
Number of Test Samples Reported to the County
Pending Test Sample Results at the State Laboratory or Private Laboratories
Presumptive Positive Test Results Reported to the County
Confirmed Negative Test Results Reported to the County
Statistics as of March 19, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
In an effort to better address questions from residents and the media about the number of novel coronavirus occurring countywide, the County will post an update on the number of tests that have been reported to the County’s Public Health department as of 4 p.m. every day to allow for transparency and efficiency. It is important to recognize that tests are occurring in varying numbers each day and results can take several days to process and report back to the County Public Health department from either the state lab or private labs. Our team is actively responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic and having a dedicated time to share test statistics will ensure we are providing everyone with the most accurate information.
Brunswick County also provides these numbers to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) for its case count webpage at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc
Coronavirus tests are available in Brunswick County. If you suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should contact your primary care provider first to alert them of their symptoms and have a physician determine if a test is required and if they provide tests. If your need additional assistance to locate a provider to test, you should contact Brunswick County Public Health for assistance.
It is ultimately up to the primary medical provider to determine who should get tested. They will consider these symptoms:
- Those who have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
- Those who have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test
The County is operating a joint information center with a Public Health Call Line and email to answer residents’ coronavirus questions.
Brunswick County Public Health Call Line and Email Information
Individuals who have questions afterhours are encouraged to call the North Carolina Public Health Call Line, which has public health professionals available 24 hours a day every day to answer questions: 1.866.462.3821.
Understanding Your Risk
We recognize that the novel coronavirus is a stressful and concerning situation for our residents. During situations, like these, it is important to seek out the most up-to-date and accurate information about the virus from the CDC, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) and Brunswick County to prevent the spread of rumors or misconceptions about the virus.
The County takes the novel coronavirus seriously and has prepared for its potential impacts for the past two months. We encourage our residents to remain calm and to remember that people who have confirmed COVID-19 and are in isolation, and people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are self-monitoring, are doing the right thing and helping to protect their communities.
If you believe you might have come into contact with someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus, here is how you can determine your risk for contracting the virus:
- No Risk: Briefly walking by a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and was not experiencing symptoms
- Low Risk: Being in the same room as a person who tested positive for COVID-19, had symptoms and you were within six feet
- Medium Risk: Sustained close contact (10 minutes or longer) within six feet of a person with COVID-19 while they had symptoms
- High Risk: Close household contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19
According to the CDC, individuals at high risk of becoming ill from coronavirus include older adults and individuals with serious chronic or long-term medical conditions.
At this time, novel coronavirus is currently not widespread in Brunswick County and is still considered a low risk.
This is an evolving situation and the County’s leadership and Health and Human Services team are monitoring it day by day and maintaining regular communications with our local and state partners to provide residents with the most current information.
Brunswick County Phone and Online Resources
The County has information and resources for individuals and businesses that need assistance now online:
Brunswick County offers some in-person services in online formats or over the phone. You are encouraged to reach out to us to see if there are opportunities to assist you with your county-related needs over the next few weeks. A few links and contact information to some of our departments that often have in-person visitors are below. Please reach out us to see how we might be able to assist you via virtual means.
Main County Phone: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033 / https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/
Register of Deeds
- Contact Information: 910.253.2077 / [email protected]
- Please do not email reports of abuse or neglect.
- If you need to make a CPS or APS report, please call 910.253.2077 during business hours. After Hours call 9-1-1 and ask to speak to the on call social worker.
- Contact Information: 910.253.2233
Updates from Our Partners in Response to Coronavirus
- Brunswick County Schools
- North Carolina Courts
- Brunswick Community College
- Novant Health
- Dosher Memorial Hospital