Public Notice

Public Notice

Brunswick County Coronavirus Information

05.28.2020

See Latest Coronavirus Information & Case Counts >> brunswickcountync.gov/alert-ticker/information-on-coronavirus/

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

 

Brunswick County Public Health Call Line and Email Information (Available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

 

NC Public Health Call Line (Open 24/7)

  • Phone: 1.866.462.3821

 

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 County has information and resources for individuals, businesses and municipalities that need assistance via the follow webpages:

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning COVID-19 and Community Impact

Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions based on topic themes we have received over the phone, email, and social media. More information and answers to frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus is also available on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Travel, Rental & Beach Questions

Travel, Rental & Beach Questions

Travel

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has issued guidance for all citizens regarding non-essential travel. This guidance asks individuals at higher risk to stay home, which means these individuals should not travel if it is not essential at this time. Even if individuals feel healthy and are not exhibiting symptoms, it is important that everyone follow these measures to better protect all our fellow residents, especially for those who have a high risk for severe illness, including those 65 years or older, those with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or those with weakened immune systems.

Brunswick County is urging and reminding all individuals to avoid sick people, follow social distancing protocols and seek communication options including phone, email, and other online resources to limit exposure to others and protect yourself as best as possible.

Older adults and domestic travelers with underlying health issues are encouraged to stay home, avoid crowded places, and refrain from non-essential travel.

Travelers returning to Brunswick County after domestic travel from areas with widespread community transmission, cruise ships, riverboats, or by air travel should stay home for 14 days after returning. Take the following steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing for 14 days after you leave the affected area:

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (temperature of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher); watch for other symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others; do not go to work or school during this 14-day period
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares
  • Avoid crowded places and limit your activities in public
  • Stay six feet (about two arms lengths) away from others

At this time, all individuals are encouraged to follow travel guidance from the NCDHHS and the CDC and limit their travel to and from other cities, counties or states for the next few weeks to practice proper social distancing and reduce the spread of novel coronavirus within the County or other areas in North Carolina. Individuals are encouraged to stay at their primary residence and limit their travel outside the home to only that which is essential, such as going to work or to get groceries.

There are no specific advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of COVID-19 have been reported in many states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19 if there are other travelers with COVID-19. Read the full NCDHHS travel guidance at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/covid-19-travel

Beach Use and Closures
  • Each municipality legally handles any issues regarding restrictions or evacuations.  All beaches in Brunswick County are municipalities and need to be contacted directly for information regarding specific guidance and restrictions on visitors.
  • If a municipality allows beach access, all beach visitors need to practice social distancing (approximately six feet between you and others) when attending—including children, teenagers, and young adults. Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 141 restricts groups of more than 25 people in outdoor settings. These measures are necessary to keep each other as safe as possible.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has issued guidance for all citizens regarding non-essential travel. This guidance asks individuals at higher risk to stay home, which means these individuals should not travel if it is not essential at this time. Even if individuals feel healthy and are not exhibiting symptoms, it is important that everyone follow these measures to better protect all our fellow residents, especially for those who have a high risk for severe illness, including those 65 years or older, those with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or those with weakened immune systems.
  • The NC DHHS travel guidance can be found here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/covid-19-travel
  • Brunswick County is urging and reminding all individuals to follow social distancing protocols and seek communication options including phone, email, and other online resources to limit exposure to others and protect yourself as best as possible.
Hotel Closures
Hotel Cleaning and Rental Property Cleaning
Refunds and Rental Insurance (I have events planned and the rental organization says they cannot give me a refund unless additional restrictions are in place. What can I do?)
  • You are encouraged to reach out to the local municipal government in the jurisdiction of the rental to see if additional restrictions are or could be in place during the time of your planned rental. Ultimately, it will depend on if the state’s or any local restrictions are extended in the future. You are encouraged to take proactive preventative measures and avoid traveling for reasons such as vacations especially while travel restrictions are in place to prevent the spread and transmission of the virus to yourself or others.
  • Refunds and rental insurance for vacation rentals are legal or contractual questions. Rental agencies or companies should be contacted directly regarding these matters.
North Carolina's Safer At Home Phase 2 (Executive Order No. 141) Questions

North Carolina’s Safer At Home Phase 2 (Executive Order No. 141) Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions from the NCDHHS provide guidance for the implementation of Executive Order No. 141 (“Order”). The Order moves North Carolina into a Safer At Home “Phase 2” of easing certain COVID-19 restrictions to help revive the economy while protecting public health. This information is subject to change in light of new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and additional Executive Orders or local government declarations.

When does Phase 2 go into place?
  • Phase 2 begins at 5:00pm on Friday, May 22, 2020 and remains in place until June 26, 2020, unless changed or cancelled.
Does this Order lift the Governor’s Stay at Home Order?
  • Yes, this order lifts the statewide Stay at Home Order and moves the state to a Safer At Home recommendation. Itis important to stay home if you are sick. While in public, people should wear a cloth face covering, practice social distancing by waiting six feet apart from others while in public, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. High-risk individuals are urged to stay at home and travel only for absolutely essential purposes. The CDC defines high-risk individuals as:
    • people 65 years or older; and
    • people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including: people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, or liver disease.
What is different about Phase 2compared to Phase 1?
  • This Phase 2 Executive Order does the following:
    • Lifts the Stay at Home Order and moves the state to a Safer at Home recommendation;
    • Allows restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limits on occupancy, specific requirements for disinfection of common spaces, and six feet between each group of customers sitting at each table;
    • Allows child care businesses to open to serve all children, as long as they follow state health guidelines;
    • Allows overnight camps to operate, following specific public health requirements and guidance;
    • Allows personal care, grooming, massage, and tattoo businesses to open with specific requirements for disinfection of equipment, face coverings for the service providers, six feet of distance between customers, and at 50percentreduced occupancy;
    • Allows indoor and outdoor pools to open with 50percentreduced occupancy, following specific public health requirements;
    • Allows people to gather together for social purposes, so long as they do not exceed the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors; and
    • Allows sporting and entertainment events to occur in large venues for broadcast to the public, so long as the events occur in large venues and spectators are limited to the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
What stays the same in Phase 2?
  • This Phase 2 Executive Order does not change the following:
    • The Three Ws(Wear, Wait, Wash) should be practiced;
    • Public playgrounds remain closed;
    • Bars and nightclubs remain closed;
    • Movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades, and skating rinks remain closed;
    • Bingo parlors and other gaming establishments remain closed;
    • Teleworking continues to be encouraged whenever possible; and
    • Visitation at long-term care facilities remains restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations; and
  • The following facilities that operate within an indoor space remain closed: exercise facilities, gyms, fitness studios, martial arts facilities, dance studios, trampoline and rock-climbing facilities, roller skating rinks, ice staking rinks, and basketball courts.
What is the new mass gathering limit?
  • In Phase 2, gatherings of more than ten people in a single indoor space remains prohibited. In outdoor spaces, gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited. These mass gathering limits include parades, fairs, festivals, auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, and meeting halls. The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, child care, day camps, and overnight camps. In these settings, there are other restrictions, such as 50 percent reduced occupancy or putting six feet of distance between each group at a restaurant, to ensure that there is not overcrowding.
  • The prohibition on mass gatherings does not include gatherings for health and safety, to look for and obtain goods and services, for work, or for receiving governmental services. A mass gathering does not include normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls, and shopping centers. It also does not apply to the exercise of First Amendment rights. However, in these settings, people are strongly encouraged to follow the Three Ws, and should avoid congregating in groups.
Regarding indoor spaces that are public facing, is the mass gathering limit calculated by the entire building or per room?
  • In public-facing facilities, the mass gathering limit applies per each room of the facility.
Does this mean that residents of North Carolina are safe from COVID-19?
  • The State of North Carolina is guided by data and facts in making decisions regarding COVID-19. Enough of the key indicators are leveling or moving in the right direction to make this transition to Safer At Home Phase 2. Public health experts’ analysis indicates that if restrictions are eased gradually with safety practices still in place, North Carolina may benefit from increased economic activity without a surge in new cases that would exceed our heath care system’s ability to respond. Despite this progress, COVID-19 remains a highly contagious virus, and state officials continue to monitor key metrics. COVID-19 spreads from person to person easily, especially indoors or if people come in close contact (less than six feet apart) for more than ten minutes. If key indicators move in the wrong direction, restrictions may be put back into place.
What actions are recommended to protect North Carolinians from contracting COVID-19 when they are not at home?
  • North Carolinians are encouraged to limit non-essential travel and stay at home if they are sick. People can protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19 remembering the Three Ws:
    • Wear a cloth face covering;
    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer; and
    • Wait six feet apart from other people to keep your distance.
What requirements do open retail businesses need to follow?
  • All open retail businesses must:
    • Limit customers inside the store to Emergency Maximum Occupancy;
    • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at deli counters and near high-demand products;
    • Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place;
    • Post signs reminding customers and workers about social distancing and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter;
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace;
    • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has prepared sample signs and a sample screening checklist questionnaire that may be used to meet some of the requirements above. Businesses or operations do not need to use the NCDHHS sample signs and questionnaires to meet the requirements of this Executive Order.
What requirement do open restaurants need to follow?
  • All open restaurants must do the following:
    • Limit customers in indoor and outdoor seating areas to the Emergency Maximum Occupancy limit;
    • Limit customers at tables so that no more than ten people shall be seated together at the same table. More than ten people may sit together at the same table, however, if they are members of the same household;
    • Ensure that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table (as shown in the diagram below), and ensuring that customers at counters are separated by six feet;
    • Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place;
    • Post signs reminding customers and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter;
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace;
    • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers;
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19);
    • Increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., dining tables, booths, counters, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders, and reusable menus) between each use;
    • Promote frequent use of hand-washing and hand sanitizer for wait staff and food service staff throughout the shift and upon reporting to work. Hand washing must at least meet the requirements specified in the North Carolina Food Code Manual; and
    • Mark six (6) feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as a cash register or place where customers wait to be seated at their table. Face coverings for employees and customers are strongly encouraged. People sitting at a table do not need to be members of the same household. This Executive Order does not require servers and wait staff to stay six feet away from customers. All types of restaurants may open in Phase 2, including, but not limited to, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food courts, and food kiosks. This includes not only free-standing locations but also locations within other businesses or facilities, including airports, shopping centers, educational institutions, or private clubs where food and beverages are permitted to be consumed on premises.
What requirements do personal care and grooming businesses need to follow?
  • Personal care and grooming businesses may open in Phase 2 and they must comply with the following:
    • Limit customers to Emergency Maximum Occupancy;
    • Arrange seating so that groups of customers are separated from one another by six feet;
    • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as cash registers and waiting areas;
    • Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place;
    • Post signs requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter;
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace;
    • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers;
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19);
    • Ensure that all equipment that comes into direct personal contact with customers and all furniture in service areas (such as chairs, capes, and the shampooing area in a barber shop or salon) is completely cleaned and disinfected between each customer; and
    • Employees of personal care and grooming businesses must wear face coverings at all times while in the business. It is also strongly recommended that customers at personal care and grooming businesses wear a face covering at all times while in the business, and that businesses institute an appointment process and encourage people to wait in their vehicle or offsite before being served. Personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to: barber shops; beauty salons; waxing and hair removal centers; hair salons; nail salons; manicure or pedicure providers; tattoo parlors; tanning salons; and massage therapists/businesses.
How is Emergency Maximum Occupancy calculated for restaurants?
  • Emergency Maximum Occupancy for restaurants is the lowest number produced by applying the following three tests:
    • Fifty percent of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every 1,000 square feet of the location’s total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
    • Limiting the number of people in the space so that everyone can stay six feet apart.
    • People sitting at a table must not be within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. Moreover, each group of customers sitting at a counter should be separated from other groups by six feet. If the restaurant expands beyond its existing space, for instance, an approved expansion onto a sidewalk or parking lot, then that expansion space would be counted when making the Emergency Maximum Occupancy calculation.
How is Emergency Maximum Occupancy calculated for retail and personal care and grooming businesses?
  • Emergency Maximum Occupancy for retail and personal care and grooming businesses is the lowest number produced by applying the following two tests:
    • Limiting the number of customers in the store to fifty percent of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every 1,000 square feet of the location’s total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
    • Limiting the number of people in the store so that everyone can stay six feet apart.
Should North Carolinians continue to work from home if possible?
  • All businesses in North Carolina are strongly encouraged to continue directing employees to telework, if possible. Additionally, non-essential travel and in-person meetings should be avoided.
Does this Executive Order mean that I can gather freely with individuals outside of my household?
  • Under Safer At Home Phase 2, North Carolinians can hold small get-togethers that do not have more than ten people indoors, or 25 people outdoors. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
Are houses of worship allowed to hold services in Phase 2?
  • The mass gathering limit and other requirements of this Executive Order do not apply to worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
Are weddings and funerals allowed to be held in Phase 2?
  • Even though there is no mass gathering cap on the people who may attend a wedding or funeral ceremony, receptions or visitations before or after weddings and funerals are subject to the mass gathering limit. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
Are there any visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities?
  • Yes, long-term care facilities should continue to restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, like end-of-life situations. The restrictions do not apply to essential health care personnel. Long-term care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, family care homes, mental health group homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Are child care facilities open under Phase 2?
  • Yes, child care facilities are open to serve all children in Phase 2. All open child care facilities must:
    • Follow all applicable NCDHHS guidelines;
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19);
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers and children using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms when workers/children begin their day;
    • Immediately isolate sick workers and children from the rest of the facility and send them home;
    • Have a plan to work with local health departments to identify close contacts of confirmed cases in the child care setting; and
    • Before reopening, child care facilities will submit the Emergency Child Care Provider Application to NCDHHS. NCDHHS must approve the Emergency Child Care Provider Application before the child care facility can reopen.
Are overnight camps open in Phase 2?
  • Yes, overnight camps can operate in Phase 2 and must follow NCDHHS’s guidance for overnight camps. The guidance is published by NC DHHS and available electronically on their website. Overnight camps must:
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19);
    • Immediately isolate sick workers and campers, if symptoms develop, from the rest of the camp;
    • Conduct daily symptom screenings of staff/campers; and
    • Have a plan to work with local health departments to identify close contacts of confirmed cases in the camp setting.
Are pools open in Phase 2?
  • Yes, indoor and outdoor pools may be open if specific public health requirements are followed. Open indoor and outdoor pools must:
    • Limit user capacity in the pool to no more than Emergency Maximum Occupancy;•Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place;
    • Post signage reminding pool attendees and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter;
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace;
    • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).These requirements apply only to shared pools in commercial settings or at residential complexes, not to family pools at people’s homes.
What are the rules about gathering at parks and trails or on beaches?
  • Each group of people at a park, trail, or beach must be limited so that the group, counted on its own, does not exceed the outdoor mass gathering limit of 25 individuals.
Can concerts, spectator sports, or other entertainment events take place in Phase 2?
  • Entertainment and professional sports events at large venues may take place so they can be broadcast to the public, but spectators are subject to the mass gathering limit. Professional entertainers, athletes, coaches, performers, support staff, and broadcast staff will not count toward the mass gathering limit. Employees and other workers at facilities where entertainment events occur also will not count toward the mass gathering limit. Venue operators allowing such events must follow specific public health requirements.
Does this Executive Order require North Carolinians to wear masks when outside the home?
  • It is strongly recommended, but not required, that a cloth face covering of the nose and mouth should be worn when you leave your house and may be within six feet of other people who are not household and family members. This would include indoor community, public, and business settings. These coverings function to protect other people more than the wearer. Face coverings should also be worn outdoors when you cannot stay at least six feet away from other people. Some populations experience increased anxiety and fear of bias and being profiled if wearing face coverings in public spaces, but everyone should adhere to this guidance without fear of profiling or bias. If someone is the target of ethnic or racial intimidation as the result of adhering to the protective nose and mouth covering guidance or as a result of the pandemic, they are encouraged to report the matter to local law enforcement agencies or other government entities.
What if I am stopped by a law enforcement officer and directed to remove my face covering?
  • A person wearing a face covering for health and safety purposes must remove the face covering upon request by a law enforcement officer in any of the following circumstances:
    • during a traffic stop, including a checkpoint or roadblock, as required by law; and
    • when a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause during a criminal investigation, as required by law.
How does this Executive Order impact policies set by local government?
  • Most of the restrictions in this order are minimum requirements. Local governments, like cities and counties, can impose greater restrictions but they cannot restrict state government operations or set different Emergency Maximum Occupancy requirements.
What will change in Phase 3 and when will that happen?
  • Phase 2 will be in place until data shows the state is prepared to move forward with Phase 3. Phase 3 will likely ease even more restrictions on businesses and increase occupancy and mass gathering limits, but this is subject to the data. Social distancing, hand hygiene, and use of cloth face coverings will still be recommended. Depending on state COVID-19 trends, restrictions may be lifted more slowly, or some restrictions may have to be reinstated to ensure the health and safety of North Carolinians.
NCDHHS has issued guidance for the following topics:
  • Restaurants
  • Salons and Personal Care
  • Places of Worship
  • Large Venues
  • Overnight Camp
  • Child Care
  • Day Camp
  • Tattoo Businesses
  • Pools
  • Sports
  • Retail

Guidance can be accessed at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance

 

Coronavirus Testing Questions

Coronavirus Testing Questions

How many people in Brunswick County have taken a coronavirus test and/or have tested positive?

See the latest information from Brunswick County Health Services on COVID-19 and case counts.

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

COVID-19 Test Reports in Brunswick County Among County Residents

Positive Test Results Reported to the County (County Residents)92
Pending Test Sample Results at the State Laboratory or Private Laboratories (County Residents)30
Confirmed Negative Test Results Reported to the County (County Residents)2,736
Number of Test Samples Reported to the County (County Residents)2,858
Positive Cases Isolating at Home (County Residents)23 at 16 households
Positive Cases Isolating at a Hospital (County Residents)3
Recoveries Among Positive Cases (County Residents)64
Associated COVID-19 Deaths (County Residents)2
Statistics as of May 30, 2020 at 4 p.m.

 

COVID-19 Test Reports in Brunswick County Among Non-Residents

Positive Test Results (Non-Residents)11
Positive Cases Isolating in the County (Non-Residents)0
Positive Cases Isolating at a Hospital (Non-Residents) 0
Recoveries Among Positive Cases (Non-Residents)6
Transferred Monitoring to Home County (Non-Residents)3
Associated COVID-19 Deaths (Non-Residents)2
Statistics as of May 30, 2020 at 4 p.m.

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.

In what zip codes/where are positive cases located in the county?
  • 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. Brunswick County citizens should assume that community transmission of COVID-19 is present anywhere and take the appropriate precautions. 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.
Is testing available in Brunswick County?

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.

For people who think they might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends they stay home and call their doctor for medical advice. Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and recover at home.

It is ultimately up to the primary medical provider to determine who should get tested, however the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued updated guidance May 15 on who should be tested for COVID-19. The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected.

The new guidance recommends clinicians ensure the following populations have access to testing, regardless of symptoms:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
  • Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
  • Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
  • Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
  • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
  • Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain

Learn more about this new guidance on the NCDHHS website.

Anyone with more serious symptoms should call their doctor or 911 right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

Household members and people who have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible for 14 days 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.

Anyone with more serious symptoms should call their doctor or 911 right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

Why are people who are sick not being tested?

For people who think they might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, the CDC​ recommends they stay home and call their doctor for advice. Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness—such as a fever or cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing—and can recover at home.

It is ultimately up to the primary medical provider to determine who should get tested, however the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued updated guidance May 15 on who should be tested for COVID-19. The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected.

Learn more about this new guidance on the NCDHHS website.

Anyone with more serious symptoms should call their doctor or 911 right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

What does it mean to have an official recovery from COVID-19?

A positive case is considered recovered when they have been fever-free for at least three days without the use of fever-reducing medication, they have improved respiratory symptoms, and at least seven days have passed since their symptoms started.

What does a COVID-19 associated death mean?

A COVID-19 associated death is defined as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be COVID-19 by an appropriate laboratory test. Note that a person does not need COVID-19 listed on the death certificate. Established criteria from the NCDHHS is:

  • Symptomatic with a positive laboratory test
  • No complete recovery between illness onset and death
  • No clear alternate cause of death
How Can I Speak with Someone About My Coronavirus Questions?

How Can I Speak with Someone About My Coronavirus Questions?

Questions about My Personal Health

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.

Local and State Public Health Call Lines

The County is operating a joint information center with a Public Health Call Line and email to answer coronavirus questions and assist residents and visitors with testing locations.

Brunswick County Public Health Call Line and Email Information
Community Care of North Carolina’s COVID-19 Triage Plus (Available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily)

CCNC’s COVID-19 Triage Plus is a toll-free helpline aimed at answering patients’ COVID-19 questions and helping them find the care they need. COVID-19 Triage Plus staff are local, NC-licensed RNs experienced in care management who will assist any North Carolina resident regardless of insurance coverage or lack of coverage. Through an agreement with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, CCNC will staff this helpline from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

  • COVID-19 Triage Plus Patient Information and Support Line: 1.877.490.6642

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)
  • 1.866.462.3821
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
Mental Health Resources

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 offers free telehealth resources for individuals in our county including a call center available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and every day of the year. Call Trillium’s call center at 1.877.685.2415 (available in English and Spanish).
  • Disaster Distress Helpline is also available at 800.985.5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (24-hour availability in English and Spanish).
  • The Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) connects North Carolinians to additional mental health and resilience supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis. As part of the state’s recent hurricane recovery efforts it served over 4,400 people in the most impacted counties, and now it is being made available to everyone in North Carolina’s 100 counties during the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative is in partnership with all seven of the state’s LME/MCOs and REAL Crisis Intervention Inc. in Greenville. Hope4NC is now available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to speak to a live person.
  • The Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) is a new initiative in partnership with the North Carolina Psychological Foundation. It provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response. Hope4Healers is also available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for people to reach out for support; they will be contacted quickly by a licensed mental health professional for follow-up.
  • The NC Department of Health & Human Services also has a list of resources on their website to help you manage your overall heath.
  • Learn more on our website: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/health/coronavirus/yourhealth/
Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources (What mental health resources are available?)

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 Health Resources 1-877-685-2415
(24-hour availability in English and Spanish)
Trillium Health Resources is a local governmental agency (LME/MCO) that manages mental health, substance use, and intellectual/developmental disability services in 26 counties in eastern North Carolina, including Brunswick County. Learn more at https://www.trilliumhealthresources.org/
Hope4NC Helpline 1-855-587-3463Additional mental health and resilience supports that help NC residents cope and build resilience.
Hope4Healers Helpline 919-226-2002New initiative in partnership with the NC Psychological Foundation. Provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families.
Optum866-342-6892Toll-free 24-hour Emotional Support Help Line for people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress.
National Disaster Distress Helpline1-800-985-5990Crisis counseling and emotional support 24 hours a day.
Hopeline919-231-4525 or 1-877-235-4525Support available 24 hours a day.
NC Alcohol and Drug Council1-800-688-4232 or text 919-908-3196If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, support is available 24 hours a day via the hotline. Learn more at www.alcoholdrughelp.org.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline1-800-273-TALKOffers free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources and best practices for professionals. Learn more at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-7233Visit NC's Council for Women & Youth Involvement for a list of domestic violence and sexual assault service providers in your county. Individuals can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. Learn more at https://ncadmin.nc.gov/about-doa/divisions/council-for-women

Food Access & Assistance Questions

Food Access & Assistance Questions

Food resources in Brunswick County
Brunswick Family Assistance (BFA)

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.

Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc (BSRI)

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

Apply for Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits through the NCDHHS

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.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

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
COVID-19 Community Assistance webpage

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 leslie.stanley@brunswickcountync.gov

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program

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.

Grocery Store Resources/Stock
  • To check the inventory and specific supplies at your local grocery store, please contact the store directly.
Other Assistance
Other Health, Animal, & Water Questions

Other Health, Animal, & Water Questions

Animals
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about pets and animals in relation to COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html
  • CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.
Controlled Burns (Why are controlled burns allowed when people have respiratory issues?)
  • There are no burn bans in place in Brunswick County and there are no plans at present to implement any bans. There are some management controlled burns occurring to help manage potential fire hazards due to the spring season. Some individuals might notice the smoke from these regular management burns due to spending more time at home during the daytime, which they might not typically experience while at work. There are other areas in western North Carolina that are under a burn ban because they are experiencing drier conditions and less rainfall than our region.
Hospitals (Can hospitals perform elective or non-urgent procedures and surgeries?)
  • As of May 1, 2020, each hospital can resume elective and non-urgent procedures in accordance with the guidance developed by the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) and the additional considerations issued from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
  • Individuals should reach out to the hospital(s) they are considering using or will use for an elective or non-urgent procedure or surgery to see if they have resumed these services or have plans to do so.
  • The NCDHHS’ original guidance from March 20, 2020, asked all state hospitals to suspend all elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries to support health care workers and conserve scarce resources.
  • The letters and guidance from the NCDHHS are not connected to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order or any other statewide executive order.
Mail
  • Currently, the CDC states there is no evidence of Covid-19 transmission through handling mail.
  • The World Health Organization states the coronavirus has some environmental longevity (hours to days) depending on temperature, surface conditions, time and humidity but it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after it has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is not aware of anyone who has contracted COVID-19 through their work for the postal service.
  • The CDC does recommend that you follow good hanffd hygiene practices and wash your hands often. Infectious disease doctors discourage the use of gloves as the virus is not transmitted through the skin and it wastes valuable resources.
Masks (Should I wear a mask?)
  • Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing – staying six feet apart from others – cannot be replaced by face coverings. The very best evidence on reducing the spread is to social distance and stay at home. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • While cloth face coverings are being sold by a range of retailers and available to purchase online, you can also make them at home from regular household items. Learn how to wear and/or make one on the CDC website and see answers to frequently asked questions about cloth face coverings on the NCDHHS website. You can also watch a video showing the steps to make a homemade face covering from materials like T-shirts or bandanas.
  • Everyone should follow the three Ws when visiting any public area. These efforts work best when they are all practiced together by as many people as possible:
    • Wear a cloth face covering when in public (Make sure both your nose and mouth are fully covered and you are able to breathe normally while wearing it.)
    • 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
  • The CDC is not recommending medical masks, which need to first go to those on the front lines, including our health care workers. Cloth coverings can play a part in controlling the spread if they are used properly and in combination with other tried and true everyday preventive actions like washing hands and wiping down surfaces. If used incorrectly, face coverings can expose someone to more germs rather than less. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
Water Treatment Process Concerning Coronavirus
  • Brunswick County’s two drinking water treatment plants are designed to filter and kill all kinds of viruses including COVID-19. The EPA mandated through the Safe Drinking Water Act that all drinking water treatment facilities designed and built in the United States be able to inactivate viruses and bacteria. The disinfection process of using chlorine is very effective at inactivating (killing) viruses. The World Health Organization has recently published a technical document describing the coronavirus as having a fragile outer membrane that is generally less stable and more susceptible to oxidants such as chlorine (page 2 of document).
  • More information regarding COVID-19 and drinking water can be found here:
    https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater
Donations & Volunteerism Questions

Donations & Volunteerism Questions

Donations (How to Donate)

Brunswick County is directing questions about how to make food donations, to provide financial relief or other services for individuals affected by COVID-19 to Brunswick Family Assistance. Financial contributions are safer for the community than food donations due to the potential spread of COVID-19. Visit BFA’s website to learn more: http://brunswickfamily.org/

While BFA offices have been closed to the public since March 15 after an abundance of caution for the community and staff, staff is still on site and ready to assist the community. BFA services have not been impacted by the closing of the offices to the public. 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.

I’m a recovered COVID-19 patient. How can I donate plasma?

Recovered COVID-19 patients who want to donate plasma should fill out and submit the American Red Cross’ Convalescent Plasma COVID-19 Donor Request Form online. Once Red Cross determines you are eligible to donate, they will send your contact information to a collection site near you, which might be a non-Red Cross site, to schedule your donation.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donations

Brunswick County Emergency Services is encouraging individuals who have certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate them to the County for potential distribution to local medical providers or long-term care facilities in the future should the need arise.

Individuals can drop off donations at the Brunswick County Emergency Services building at 3325 Old Ocean Highway (Building C) in Bolivia at the Brunswick County Government Complex Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Individuals are encouraged to call first before they arrive to let our team know you are coming and follow the directions to enter the building when you arrive. Our team members in the front office will assist in collecting your items. You can also contact the County the following ways to ask questions you might have.

Brunswick County is accepting the following items. Items must be new and unused:

  • Unused masks rated N95 or higher: 3M Healthcare or NIOSH approved preferred
  • Full face shields
  • Impervious gowns: AAMI Level 2
  • Gloves: Nitrile or non-latex preferred
  • Unused ear loop masks
  • Unused surgical masks: meet the surgical masks regulations under 21 CFR 878.4040 preferred
  • Unused surgical masks with face shield: meet the surgical masks regulations under 21 CFR 878.4040 preferred
  • Medical/dental gowns

We are not able to accept homemade or hand-sewn items currently. Full details are at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/coronavirus-ppe-donations/

Park, Golf, Restaurant & Religious Functions Questions

Park, Golf, Restaurant & Religious Functions Questions

Are Brunswick County’s parks open?
  • All Brunswick County parks remain open to the public at their regularly scheduled hours: every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the exception of Brunswick Nature Park, which is always open from 8 a.m. to dusk.
  • To continue to maintain a high standard of cleanliness in our park facilities, restrooms are only open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This adjusted time frame will give our team more time to clean the restrooms based on our advanced disinfection/sterilization protocol in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • As a reminder, all park visitors need to practice social distancing (approximately six feet between you and others) and cannot gather in groups more than 25, per the Governor’s Executive Order No. 141 mass gathering rules for outdoor activities. This includes children, teenagers, and young adults. These measures are necessary to keep each other as safe as possible. The County will continue to monitor the parks to ensure compliance with state mandates and guidelines.
What is the guidance for golf courses during Phase 2?
Are houses of worship allowed to hold services in Phase 2?
  • The mass gathering limit and other requirements of North Carolina’s Phase 2 Executive Order No. 141 do not apply to worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
Are weddings and funerals allowed to be held in Phase 2?
  • Even though there is no mass gathering cap on the people who may attend a wedding or funeral ceremony, receptions or visitations before or after weddings and funerals are subject to the mass gathering limit. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Three Ws to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
What requirement do open restaurants need to follow during Phase 2?
  • All open restaurants must do the following:
    • Limit customers in indoor and outdoor seating areas to the Emergency Maximum Occupancy limit;
    • Limit customers at tables so that no more than ten people shall be seated together at the same table. More than ten people may sit together at the same table, however, if they are members of the same household;
    • Ensure that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table (as shown in the diagram below), and ensuring that customers at counters are separated by six feet;
    • Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place;
    • Post signs reminding customers and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been sick with a fever and/or cough not enter;
    • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace;
    • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers;
    • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19);
    • Increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., dining tables, booths, counters, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders, and reusable menus) between each use;
    • Promote frequent use of hand-washing and hand sanitizer for wait staff and food service staff throughout the shift and upon reporting to work. Hand washing must at least meet the requirements specified in the North Carolina Food Code Manual; and
    • Mark six (6) feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as a cash register or place where customers wait to be seated at their table. Face coverings for employees and customers are strongly encouraged. People sitting at a table do not need to be members of the same household. This Executive Order does not require servers and wait staff to stay six feet away from customers. All types of restaurants may open in Phase 2, including, but not limited to, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food courts, and food kiosks. This includes not only free-standing locations but also locations within other businesses or facilities, including airports, shopping centers, educational institutions, or private clubs where food and beverages are permitted to be consumed on premises.
How is Emergency Maximum Occupancy calculated for restaurants during Phase 2?
  • Emergency Maximum Occupancy for restaurants is the lowest number produced by applying the following three tests:
    • Fifty percent of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every 1,000 square feet of the location’s total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
    • Limiting the number of people in the space so that everyone can stay six feet apart.
    • People sitting at a table must not be within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. Moreover, each group of customers sitting at a counter should be separated from other groups by six feet. If the restaurant expands beyond its existing space, for instance, an approved expansion onto a sidewalk or parking lot, then that expansion space would be counted when making the Emergency Maximum Occupancy calculation.

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