Brunswick County coronavirus preparations update (March 13, 2020)
- Brunswick County opened a Public Health Call Line and email dedicated to coronavirus that is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; the NC Public Health Call Line is available for questions afterhours and over the weekend 24/7
- There are still no confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Brunswick County as of March 13
- The County reached out to long-term care facilities and local churches to encourage them to follow guidelines from the State of North Carolina, including limiting visitors and restricting all visitors who have respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19 at long-term care facilities
- The County held a meeting with our county and community partners to review emergency plans and discuss any organizational responses to the State’s updated guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation
BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County is providing our residents with an update on our team’s current efforts to prepare for and monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in our state and country and provide details and recommendations for you to consider to best protect and inform yourself about the virus.
Brunswick County Health and Human Services is aware of some individuals being tested for the virus, however there are still no confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Brunswick County at this time. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has confirmed 15 positive cases of coronavirus in the state at this time, which is unchanged from the March 12 update.
Brunswick County opened a joint information center today to coordinate communications, including the opening of a Public Health Call Line and email dedicated to coronavirus questions and information. Individuals can speak with a county nurse Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Emails sent over the weekend will be responded to by the next business day.
Brunswick County Public Health Call Line and Email Information
- Phone: 1.910.253.2339
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Individuals who have questions afterhours or over the weekend 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
The County Manager and County Health and Human Services team also held a meeting with our county and community partners, including the local hospitals, Brunswick County Emergency Services, Brunswick County Schools, and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to review the County’s emergency plans and discuss any responses taken following Governor Roy Cooper and the NC DHHS’ March 12 new guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation.
Health and Human Services also reached out to our county’s long-term care facilities and local churches to encourage them to follow the most recent guidelines the State of North Carolina issued Thursday, March 12. These state recommendations for long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children include limiting visitors and restrict all visitors who have respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19.
This is an evolving situation and the County’s leadership and Health and Human Services team are monitoring the situation and maintaining regular communications with our local and state partners to provide residents with the most current information.
You are encouraged to follow official channels for Brunswick County, NC DHHS and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for the most up-to-date and verified information about coronavirus.
Our team members are monitoring and communicating with our partners over the weekend to assess the situation in Brunswick County. The County’s next daily update will take place Monday, March 16 unless additional information develops over the weekend.
Brunswick County Schools and North Carolina Courts also issued updates today concerning coronavirus that might be relevant for our residents.
Reminders from previous update
Brunswick County offices, parks, and libraries will still 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.
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.
- 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.
Are there any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brunswick County?
- There are no confirmed positive or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Brunswick County at this time. The NC DHHS has a website with confirmed cases in the state at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-north-carolina
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, tests have been available the past two weeks. Tests 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
- CDC Main Coronavirus Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/
- NC DHHS Main Coronavirus Website: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
- Brunswick County Main Coronavirus Website: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/coronavirus/
- NC DHHS Information for Individuals at Higher Risk: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/people-higher-risk
- CDC Recommendations for Individuals at Higher Risk: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
Residents can find information and receive updates from the County as they are issued a number of ways:
- Brunswick County website: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/news/
- Sign up for email updates on emergency situation news releases: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/info/email/
- Social media: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/info/social/
- Emergency alert notifications (phone calls, text, and/or emails): https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/7BC24EDE14D3
For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email email@example.com