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.

North Carolina's Current Restrictions

North Carolina’s Current Restrictions

North Carolina is taking a multi-phased approach – based on data from testing, tracing and trends and in consultation with members of the business community – to restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and save lives. Learn more below about restrictions currently in place.

Current Restrictions

The table below provides a general summary of restrictions and measured imposed under recent executive orders as well as frequently asked questions and relevant guidance from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional guidance is also available.

Executive Order Summary

Executive Order 215 (English)

Executive Order 215 (Spanish)

Effective 1:30 p.m. May 14:

  • Lifts all mandatory capacity and gathering limits
  • Lifts all social distancing requirements
  • Lifts mandatory mask requirements for most indoor and outdoor settings, excluding, public transportation, child care, schools, prisons and certain public health settings
Face Masks and Coverings

Face Masks and Coverings

On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) acknowledged that the growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. In addition, the CDC issued new CDC guidance indicating that the face covering requirement and social distancing requirements can be lifted for fully vaccinated people. In North Carolina, more than half of the population has received one vaccination dose, and North Carolina is on track to have more people be fully vaccinated and at low risk from the disease. Therefore, considering the totality of these circumstances, the Governor has determined that the capacity restrictions, social distancing requirements, should be lifted in all settings and the general face covering requirement should be lifted in most settings. The Governor’s Executive Order 215 becomes effective on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 p.m and will remain in effect through June 11, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. In addition, individuals should check with local governments to determine whether additional restrictions have been imposed in their local jurisdictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

See a full list of answers to frequently asked questions about the Governor’s Executive Order 215 on the NCDHHS website here.

Travel, Rental & Beach Questions

Travel, Rental & Beach Questions

Travel

The following sites have information about the latest travel guidance from the CDC and the NCDHHS:

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.
Hotels and Rental Policies on COVID-19
  • Questions about hotel or rental home policies will need to be answered directly by the hotel or company directly.
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.
Park, Golf, Sports, Restaurants, Bars, Outdoor Events, and Large Venues Questions

Park, Golf, Sports, Restaurants, Bars, Outdoor Events, and Large Venues 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. All park restrooms are open to the public during regular park hours each day, including weekends.
What is the guidance for golf courses?
May private bars open indoors and provide for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages? Are there face covering and social distancing requirements?
  • Yes, these establishments may open indoors and outdoors at full capacity. There are no social distancing or face covering requirements for patrons.
May private bars open indoors and provide for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages? Are there face covering and social distancing requirements?
  • Yes, these establishments may open indoors and outdoors at full capacity. There are no social distancing or face covering requirements for patrons.
Are establishments authorized to sell mixed beverages “to-go” allowed to continue to sell mixed alcoholic beverages “to-go”?
  • Certain establishments specified in Executive Order No. 183, as extended by Executive Order Nos. 190, 205, and 210 may continue to sell mixed alcoholic beverages to-go until the expiration of Executive Order No. 210 or any subsequent extension, subject to the terms of that Order. Please see the FAQ for Executive Order No. 205, available here, for additional information.
Must Guests at bars, lounges, night clubs, and other venues for live performances remain seated?
  • No. There are no longer seating requirements for guest bars, lounges, night clubs, and other venues. These venues may operate at full capacity.
Are spectators allowed at sporting events, including youth, high school, collegiate, and professional events?
  • Yes, spectators are allowed both indoors and outdoors at sporting events. At indoor and outdoor sporting events may operate a full capacity.
Are face coverings required for athletes participating in school athletic events?
  • Face Coverings are not required for those school athletes over age five (5) when exercising outdoors. School athletes over age five (5) should continue to wear a face covering when exercising indoors, unless an exception applies. Face coverings exceptions in sections 2.3 – 2.5 of Executive Order No. 209 apply under these circumstances.
Are face coverings required for athletes participating in non-school related youth and amateur athletic events?
  • No. There are no face covering requirements for these athletic events.
Are there still capacity limitations on larger venues?
  • No, large venues may operate at full capacity.
Are there capacity limitations on outdoor festivals and concerts?
  • No.
What are the capacity limitations for indoor facilities with seating capacity greater than five thousand (5,000) and outdoor facilities with seating capacity greater than ten thousand (10,000).
  • There are no capacity limitations for large facilities
  •  
Coronavirus Testing and Case Count Questions

Coronavirus Testing and Case Count Questions

How many people in Brunswick County have tested positive for COVID-19?

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 Cases Among County Residents

Total Positives (confirmed and probable)9,363
Active (includes isolating at home and hospitalizations)49
Deaths155
Resolved9,159
Brunswick County Resident Case Counts as of June 16, 2021

Note: This table is updated Mondays through Fridays only, excluding county-observed holidays. For case count information on weekends or county-observed holidays, visit the NCDHHS Dashboard at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard/cases

 

Who gets tested for COVID-19?

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 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.
  • The following groups are some of the populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected. People in these groups should get tested if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.
    • People who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp).
    • Historically marginalized populations who may be at higher risk for exposure.
    • Frontline and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, construction sites, processing plants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
    • Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military).
    • People who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions).
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list is not all possible symptoms. 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.

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 residents should assume that community transmission of COVID-19 is present anywhere and take the appropriate precautions.
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
What is the difference between a molecular (PCR) and antigen COVID-19 test?
  • Answer: Under CDC guidance, molecular (PCR) tests are classified as confirmed cases, while antigen cases are classified as probable cases. However, positive cases identified through either testing method are still required to follow isolation rules and contact tracing efforts through their local health department. As antigen testing becomes more common, the County is following the NCDHHS’ steps to include cases identified through both molecular and antigen testing methods to provide the clearest picture on our overall case counts.
What does it mean to be a positive case identified through a molecular (PCR) test or an antigen test?
  • Answer: Molecular (PCR) and antigen tests are used to diagnose COVID-19, meaning that they look to see if someone is currently infected with COVID-19. Each test looks for something different to determine if someone is infected. A molecular (PCR) test looks for the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test is a rapid test that looks for specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Where the test is processed may also differ. Molecular (PCR) tests are processed in a laboratory. Antigen tests are often processed at the point of care, such as in a health care provider’s office.
What’s the difference between an antibody test and a diagnostic test (molecular (PCR) and antigen)?
  • Answer: Diagnostic tests like molecular and antigen tests should not be confused with antibody tests; antibody tests are not used to diagnose an active COVID-19 infection. Instead, antibody tests look for antibodies that an immune system has created in response to a threat like a virus. Antibodies can take days or weeks to develop following an infection and can remain in the bloodstream for several weeks following a recovery. At this time, researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that someone is immune to the coronavirus in the future.
If someone has received a positive test result more than once since the pandemic began, are they counted multiple times on a dashboard’s case count section?
  • Answer: Positive cases identified through either testing method are reported by licensed medical providers and labs. Every positive case receives a unique number tied to the individual’s demographic data. This data is available to health care providers, which eliminates duplicate reporting of positive cases should an individual ever receive more than one test—regardless of the testing method used.
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

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.
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
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
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.

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/

News & Events

Get the latest updates and happenings on events throughout the county.

Latest News

Read More Coronavirus News

Latest Events