Brunswick County Coronavirus Update (May 7, 2020)
- The transition to Phase 1 of the state’s three-phase plan to lift restrictions due to COVID-19 still includes a modified version of the Governor’s Stay at Home order effective Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m. Continue to limit travel as much as possible during this phase and discourage vacations or invitations to guests to visit during Phase 1. Read the full press release from the Governor’s Office here.
- More information and guidance for businesses about Phase 1 is available on the NCDHHS website.
- Public Utilities encourages any business/building owners preparing to reopen to flush the entire building before doing so, including all water-using appliances such as ice machines and dishwashers. Flushing clears out the low-quality water that accumulates during low use and replaces it with higher quality water from the main water supply.
- North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) participants are now able to purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at authorized online EBT retailers.
- As of May 7, there are 49 positive cases of COVID-19, 20 pending test results and 1,505 confirmed negative test results, totaling 1,574 tests administered so far among county residents. Of the positive cases, 36 are considered recovered cases, 10 are currently isolating at six different homes (one is not located in Brunswick County), one is isolating at a hospital, and two are deaths associated to COVID-19.
- There are 11 cases involving non-residents testing positive for COVID-19; five are considered recovered cases, three have transferred monitoring to their home county, one is isolating at a hospital, and two are deaths associated to COVID-19.
- See answers and information to several of our most frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19.
- See more information about COVID-19 testing and screening sites in Brunswick County
BOLIVIA, N.C. – As North Carolina prepares for the transition to Phase 1 this Friday at 5 p.m., Brunswick County reminds individuals that this first phase still includes a modified statewide Stay at Home order. Individuals should continue to take precautionary measures and limit their travel as much as possible, practice proper social distancing, follow best hygiene practices and wear cloth face coverings when in public to continue to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Governor’s Order concerning Phase 1 is in effect until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22. However, the end of this Order does not necessarily mean the state will move to Phase 2. The state will only start Phase 2 if data and indicators are in the right place.
All 100 counties must comply with the Governor’s three-phase plan to reopen regardless of how a county’s COVID-19 case count compares to other areas in the state.
“It’s important to remember all North Carolinians are in this together and play a part in how Phase 1 unfolds,” Health and Human Services Director David Stanley said. “Even though we are transitioning to Phase 1 soon, we will still be under a modified statewide Stay at Home Order. You should only travel to businesses and locations that are permitted to open during Phase 1 and avoid planning vacations or inviting guests to your home during this phase.”
Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Do not travel if you are sick or travel with someone who is sick.
While counties and municipalities cannot lessen the restrictions outlined in the Governor’s executive orders or three-phase plan, they can create additional restrictions. Brunswick County has not issued additional restrictions beyond what is required in the Governor’s executive orders and government offices continue to remain open to the public with modifications to allow for proper social distancing among our team members and visitors.
You are encouraged to reach out to your municipality or check their website to see if they have initiated or could initiate additional restrictions that overlap with Phase 1 of North Carolina’s statewide plan. Individuals should continue to comply with any rules established within their jurisdiction.
Individuals are strongly encouraged to follow the three Ws when visiting any public area:
- Wear a cloth face covering when in public; learn how to wear and/or make one on the CDC website
- Wait six feet apart to avoid close contact and maintain appropriate social distancing between yourself and others
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer while also following other best hygiene practices
- Commercial activity: People can leave home for commercial activity and more businesses are open
- Retail: 50 percent capacity allowed with cleaning and social distancing
- Gatherings: 10 person limit – gathering outdoors with friends allowed
- Childcare: Childcare centers open for working parents or those looking for work
- Teleworking: Encouraged
- Bars and restaurants: Take-out and delivery only
- Barbers/salons/massage: Closed
- Theaters, music venues, bowling alleys: Closed
- Gyms: Closed
- Playgrounds: Closed
- Visitation at long-term care centers: Not allowed
- Worship services: Outdoor services allowed
- State parks and trails: Opening encouraged
- Face coverings: Encouraged
More information and guidance for businesses about Phase 1 is available on the NCDHHS website.
More information about the Governor’s Executive Order No. 138 is available below.
- Read: Governor’s Executive Order No. 138 (Phase 1)
- FAQs on the Governor’s Executive Order No. 138
- See more on what’s new in Phase 1 (PDF)
Businesses/buildings preparing to reopen should flush all appliances that use water before restarting operations
With the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and Executive Order No. 120 requiring several businesses to close for several weeks, business and building owners are encouraged to take steps to prepare their pipes for increased water use as they reopen according to the Governor’s three-phase approach to lifting restrictions due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
If water is not being used for a longer period of time, the water held in a building’s pipes can become stagnant. Disinfectants in the water, such as chlorine, will likely dissipate or become undetectable.
The best immediate action is to flush the entire building, including all water-using appliances such as ice machines and dishwashers. Flushing clears out the low-quality water that accumulates during low use and replaces it with higher quality water from the main water supply. The fresh water will also help mitigate other problems (e.g., loss of protective scale and biofilm growth) that might have emerged while the water was stagnant.
If staff are available to flush your buildings’ water lines, you are encouraged to start now. Run enough water through all outlets (e.g., hoses, faucets, shower heads, toilets, etc.) and remove aerators when possible. Typical protocols require running water for 10 to 30 minutes for each outlet (duration varies based on outlet velocity). In most cases, flushing with water that has normal amounts of chlorine (the chlorine already in the water supply) is sufficient for cleaning the water system.
The scientists and engineers at the Environmental Science, Policy and Research Institute (ESPRI) and AH Environmental Consultants, Inc. (AH) developed a brief guidance material to help those who are responsible for maintaining building water systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has detailed information on reactivating plumbing systems after dormant conditions at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html
Food and Nutrition Services participants can now use benefits at authorized online EBT retailers
North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) participants are now able to purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at authorized online EBT retailers. North Carolina is the 10th state to implement this flexibility, which will remain permanently in place beyond the COVID-19 emergency.
The new flexibility will allow participants to buy food while also promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and helping families with transportation and mobility barriers.
Currently, Amazon and Walmart are the only authorized retailers approved for online FNS purchases nationally. The U.S. Department of Agriculture must approve other 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 and other retailers are encouraged to seek approval for online purchasing. More information for retailers is available on the USDA website.
More information about North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services can be found at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/food-nutrition-services-food-stamps.
North Carolina individuals and families can apply for FNS at https://epass.nc.gov/CitizenPortal/application.do
COVID-19 FAQ of the Day
What happens if someone (non-resident) tests positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while visiting Brunswick County?
- If the travelers become symptomatic and receive a positive test result for the virus, the Health Department will issue orders of isolation to all individuals in the party who are sick.
- In addition, all other close contacts in the party will have to quarantine for at least 14 days after all the sick individuals in the party are released from isolation, in efforts to protect public health.
See more answers and information to several of our most frequently asked questions concerning COVID-19.
Brunswick County Test Results
As of May 7, there are 49 positive cases of COVID-19, 20 pending test results and 1,505 confirmed negative test results, totaling 1,574 tests administered so far among Brunswick County residents. Of the 49 positive cases, 26 are male and 23 are female; 36 are considered recovered cases, 10 are isolating at six different homes (one home is out-of-state), one is isolating at a hospital, and two are deaths associated to COVID-19.
There are 11 cases involving non-residents who tested positive for COVID-19 while visiting Brunswick County, resulting in their contacts having to quarantine as well; these cases are not reflected in the County’s total case counts. Seven of these cases are male and four are female. Five of the non-resident cases are considered recovered, one is isolating at a hospital, and the County has transferred monitoring for three cases to the individuals’ home counties; two are deaths associated to COVID-19.
The age ranges of the positive cases among Brunswick County residents as of today are as follows:
- 0-17 years old: 1
- 18-24 years old: 3
- 25-49 years old: 9
- 50-64 years old: 19
- 65+ years old: 17
The age ranges of the positive cases among non-residents as of today are as follows:
- 0-17 years old: Zero cases
- 18-24 years old: Zero cases
- 25-49 years old: 4
- 50-64 years old: 2
- 65+ years old: 5
COVID-19 Test Reports in Brunswick County Among County Residents
COVID-19 Test Reports in Brunswick County Among Non-Residents
|Positive Cases (Non-Residents)||17|
|Positive Cases Isolating in the County (Non-Residents)||0|
|Positive Cases Isolating at a Hospital (Non-Residents)||0|
|Recoveries Among Positive Cases (Non-Residents)||12|
|Transferred Monitoring to Home County (Non-Residents)||3|
|Associated COVID-19 Deaths (Non-Residents)||2|
Note: Brunswick County Public Health is encouraging providers in the County’s jurisdiction to continue to report persons under investigation (PUI) at this time, however NCDHHS no longer mandates that the PUI form be completed and sent to the local health departments, which could result in under reporting of test counts. These numbers reflected the information reported to the County from local health care providers.
Public Health monitors all individuals who test positive and any individuals in self-quarantine on a regular basis.
Brunswick County will provide updates on any positive cases considered a low risk for community spread in its daily update unless a serious public health concern requires a separate release. The County will share statistics on the number of test samples and final reports Public Health is receiving in its daily update to allow for transparency and efficiency.
The NCDHHS announced that it would share more information concerning the number of positive cases residing in zip codes and are looking at ways to protect populations located in smaller zip code areas. Brunswick County Public Health reminds individuals that zip codes only tell the location of where a positive case resides and does not mean that that is where the individual got the virus.
Most of the County’s resident and non-resident cases are related to travel to or from places outside of Brunswick County, however there is evidence of community spread of the virus in some of the resident cases. There are also a couple of instances where a positive case has transmitted the virus to another person outside of their household who was later tested and identified as a positive case.
Of the 49 identified cases, 36 are considered recovered cases, one is isolating at a hospital, and 10 are isolating at six different homes, one of which is not located in Brunswick County. These isolating positive cases pose a low risk to the public as they and any household contacts are isolated or quarantined.
Everyone in Brunswick County, the state and nation needs to continue to take actions that best protect themselves from COVID-19 wherever they are and should assume that they can be exposed to the virus anywhere—hence the need to wear a face covering, wait six feet apart from other people, and wash their hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer frequently.
Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in isolation in their homes, which are located within the majority of zip codes throughout the county. Identified positive cases only represent a fraction of the actual positive cases as not everyone who is sick with COVID-19 are being tested in light of the CDC’s guidance that individuals with mild symptoms are typically able to recover at home without a test.
Food resources in Brunswick County
Some individuals and families might need help to ensure they have enough food at this time. We understand that this is a stressful situation for many of our fellow residents—but there are a number of resources and programs available that want to assist anyone who needs help at this time. Here are a few of the major resources available:
The Brunswick Family Assistance Executive Committee voted March 31 to increase the number of allowed pantry visits from once to twice per month. This effort is in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and serves to ensure that no family goes hungry in the county. Additionally, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved a request at the April 6 regular meeting for $30,000 in additional funding to BFA to support their COVID-19 response. Those in need of assistance are encouraged to call BFA at 910-754-4766 for the Shallotte office or 910-408-1700 for the Leland Office to set up appointments for pantry visits and other assistance services.
Eligible seniors aged 60 or older can request home meal deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays (two hot and three frozen) through the Meals on Wheels program or RSVP for drive-through meal service on select days at a BSRI center/site if they have not already. Contact BSRI to learn more and sign up for either of these services. Find the latest updates and contact information at www.bsrinc.org
To help families access food during the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is temporarily increasing benefits for March 2020 and April 2020 to current Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients in North Carolina. All families that receive FNS will receive the maximum amount allowed for March 2020 and April 2020 for their household size. Families and individuals who do not currently receive benefits can apply online with ePass.
The WIC Program is a supplemental nutrition program that provides food, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support to income-eligible women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are breastfeeding, as well as infants and children up to five years of age. Brunswick County’s WIC team members are providing all services over the phone and can be reached via the following phone numbers:
- Bolivia Office: 910.253.2288
- Shallotte Office: 910.253.2878
- Leland Office: 910.253.2877
Brunswick County is updating offers of community assistance including other food resources on its website. If you are aware of any other offers or notices, please email Volunteer and Nonprofit Coordinator Leslie Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 20, it was announced that North Carolina has been approved for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to help families purchase food for children impacted by school closings due to COVID-19. The program provides a benefit on an EBT card to North Carolina families whose children are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school. Families will not need to apply for the P-EBT program. Parents with school aged children attending a school in the Brunswick County Schools district who currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will receive the additional benefit on their existing EBT card. Parents with school-aged children attending a school in the Brunswick County Schools district who are not receiving FNS benefits will receive an EBT card in the mail with a letter from DHHS explaining how to activate and use their card. Families will receive $250 in P-EBT benefits per child, provided in two installments, with the possibility of an additional benefit if North Carolina schools are closed beyond May 15. Families will be able to use the P-EBT benefit to purchase food items at EBT authorized retailers, including most major grocery stores. More information about the P-EBT benefits including information in Spanish is on the NCDHHS website.
Local and State Public Health Call Lines
Brunswick County Public Health Call Line
The County is operating a joint information center with a Public Health Call Line and email to answer residents’ coronavirus questions (available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). More information is also available on our website at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/coronavirus
- Phone: 910.253.2339
- Email: email@example.com
Individuals who have questions afterhours are encouraged to use the North Carolina 2-1-1 program or call the North Carolina Public Health Call Line, which has public health professionals available 24 hours a day every day to answer questions.
NC Public Health Call Line (Open 24/7)
North Carolina 2-1-1 Program
- For COVID-19 questions, dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162
- Sign up for updates by texting COVIDNC to 898211
The COVID-19 situation is a stressful situation for many of us. There are several resources available should you need to speak with someone anonymously at this time:
- Trillium: 877.685.2415 (24-hour availability in English and Spanish)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 800.985.5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (24-hour availability in English and Spanish)
- Hope4NC Helpline: 1-855-587-3463 (available 24/7)
- Hope4Healers Helpline (for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response): 919-226-2002 (available 24/7)
- More resources are available through the NC Department of Health & Human Services: COVID-19: Managing Your Overall Health
Updates from Our Partners in Response to Coronavirus
Brunswick County Schools
- Updates on Coronavirus Impacts on Brunswick County Schools
- Online Educational Resources/Video Tutorials
Brunswick County Courthouse
While most courts are closed, the Brunswick County Courthouse Clerk’s Office is open for limited services. The public is strongly encouraged to call in advance, as many trips to the Courthouse can be avoided.
- Contact Information: (910) 253-3900 / Brunswick County Courthouse Website
- Filings can be mailed to: Clerk of Court / 310 Government Center Dr, Unit 1 / Bolivia NC 28422
- NC Courts Coronavirus Updates
Brunswick Community College
- Online coronavirus assessment tool found at https://coronavirus.novanthealth.org/
- 24/7 helpline for patients are experiencing symptoms and have questions on how to best seek care: 877-499-1697 or 877-9NOVANT
Dosher Memorial Hospital
For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Residents can find the latest information from the County concerning COVID-19 at http://brunswickcountync.gov/news
- Individuals can also follow the County’s social media and sign up for emails on emergency updates at http://brunswickcountync.gov/info/email/
County Contact Information & Virtual Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Brunswick County is urging individuals to visit our website and to call or email county departments for assistance first before visiting county offices. The County now requires appointments for in-person visits. Not sure who to contact? Call our main line and we can help direct your calls.
- Main County Contact Information: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033