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COVID-19: Cases Increase on the Coast

There are seven reported cases of COVID-19 on the coast as of 4 p.m. Friday. Illustration: CDC

 

Update 12:30 p.m. Monday:

As of 8:35 a.m. Monday, there were 297 cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Of those, one is in Pasquotank, five in Carteret, three in Onslow, seven in Brunswick, two in Craven, four in New Hanover.

Croatan National Forest’s Cedar Point Campground, Flanners Beach Campground and Oyster Point Campground will be closed starting Monday.

Public access will be restricted to Beaufort County government buildings beginning Tuesday. Guidance for business with various departments will be posted at each building.

Bertie County staff were to report to work as normal this week but access to county offices will be restricted to employees only unless permission is granted, with the exception of the Department of Social Services.

Water service suspensions will be on hold until April 22. No late fees will be applied to water bills during this time. Bertie County said it would absorb the online convenience fees associated with online tax bill payments until April 22.

The Carteret County Board of Commissioners has asked vacation management and hotel management companies in the county to issue a voluntary booking policy to not allow new reservations to leisure travelers from Sunday to April 6.

The Atlantic Beach bridge will remain open, but the town discourages entry by those who are not residents or property owners.

Chowan County government offices are closed to the public effective Monday until further notice. Staff will be available by email and phone.

Access to the Currituck County section of the Outer Banks is denied to visitors and nonresident property owners effective Friday.  There was no evacuation order for visitors or nonresident property owners who may already be present.

Permanent residents will be allowed access to conduct business, work, or attend medical appointments. Currituck County residents must have an ID that shows a Currituck County address. A law enforcement checkpoint is established at the south end of the Wright Memorial Bridge

Hyde County reported its first case Saturday. The county released a second press release explaining that the individual has more than one address and provided a Hyde County address when tested, causing Hyde to be the county of ownership. The individual reports there has been no travel to Hyde County during or after illness and there has been no contact with any individual in Hyde County during this period.

The Onslow Government Center can be accessed by citizens only through appointments starting Monday. The public is asked to access county services by phone or online where applicable.

Wrightsville Beach has closed the oceanfront beach strand and soundside beaches of Wrightsville Beach to residents and visitors. All town restroom facilities will be closed.

The Carolina Beach state of emergency went into effect Friday afternoon. Beach accesses, town parking lots and Freeman Park are closed.

Original Post 4 p.m. Friday:

On the North Carolina coast, Brunswick and Craven counties have each reported two cases of COVID-19 and Carteret, Onslow, New Hanover and Pasquotank have reported one each.

During a media conference Friday afternoon, Mike Sprayberry, state Emergency Management director, said that the state emergency operation center is in Day 11 of active operations due to COVID-19. Right now, shelter in place is not an order but they’re watching to see what the rest of the nation is doing. “Currently in North Carolina there’s no plans for shelter in place.”

Other points he mentioned included that no more businesses are anticipated to be closed. There are plans to activate the National Guard to help with logistics and transportation. He urged residents to reduce the urge to buy excess food; there is no food shortage. Questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 211.

Sprayberry reiterated the importance of getting information from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments. “There’s a lot of bad information out there, especially on social media.”

Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, state health director and chief medical officer for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said for regularly circulating viruses, there is some seasonality, however, because this is a novel virus and nobody has that immunity, it’s uncertain if the warm weather will have an influence on the circulation. She explained that part of the reaction to COVID-19 is because this novel virus has never been seen before and there isn’t immunity. To her knowledge, no clinical trials are taking place in the state but that is a high priority.

This month, the governor’s office has taken steps to help curb the rising COVID-19 cases in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency March 10. The declaration helps agencies coordinate and makes it easier to purchase necessary medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging and increase county health departments’ access to state funds.

“The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that North Carolina is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do that,” Gov. Cooper said about the order in a release.

On March 14, Cooper directed all public K-12 schools to close for at least two weeks starting Monday. Gov. Cooper’s executive order also included a mandatory ban on gatherings over 100 people to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

State health officials also encourage following the CDC’s recommendation to cancel or postpone all gatherings with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Cooper signed Tuesday an executive order that directs bars and restaurants to offer take-out and delivery services only and includes an expansion of unemployment insurance to help workers impacted by COVID-19-related closings.

The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Wednesday the governor’s request for a disaster declaration, which will provide impacted businesses with loans to help pay workers and operational expenses.

Beaufort County

Beaufort County Government has put in place social distancing measures where public and staff interface.

In Washington, the city hall closed to the public Monday and will be until further notice. The Bobby Andrews Recreation Center, George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center, Moore Aquatic and Fitness Center and Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex have been closed to the public as of Saturday and will be until further notice.

Bertie County

The county declared Tuesday a state of emergency. While the county is operating under normal business hours, officials are asking citizens to conduct any needed county business online, by phone, or via drop box as much as possible to reduce the number of chances for infection of County staff before, during, and after business hours.

Brunswick County

There are two presumptive positive cases in Brunswick County as of Thursday.  Brunswick County received information concerning the second case the evening of Thursday, March 19

The county will close all five libraries effective end of day Friday. Staff are available to answer questions via phone/email and eBooks will be available

Camden County

A state of emergency was declared Tuesday for Camden County. Camden County Senior Center closed Monday; Camden Parks and Recreation is closed to the public until March 27; Camden county Library closed Monday until further notice; Dismal swamp Visitor Center is closed to public; and all county 4-H activities are suspended.

Carteret County

Carteret County announced its first positive case Friday.

The county declared Thursday a state of emergency and the county is discouraging traveling to the coast at this time.

All county-maintained beach access points, including those in Salter Path, Radio Island and Harkers Island, will be closed starting Saturday.

Morehead City closed Tuesday all city buildings to the public but staff are available by phone and email.

Emerald Isle has declared a state of emergency and temporarily closed all public beach parking areas and public restrooms through March 31 at the Western Ocean Regional Access, Eastern Ocean Regional Access, Station Street Park and Third Street Park.

The town has also suspended beach driving. Beach access gates will be closed at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Atlantic Beach Thursday declared a state of emergency and restricted public access to its town hall. According to a release Thursday, “there is no current consideration of limiting any vehicular access to Atlantic Beach and there will be NO further issuance of Re-Entry Permits during this period of protective measures.”

The town closed Friday the public beach access parking lots and all public bathhouses.

Chowan County

Chowan County declared Tuesday a state of emergency. Officials ask the public limit nonessential in-person interaction and are encouraged to use online services or communicate with employees via email or telephone.

Craven County

Craven County, which reported two cases as of Friday, put its state of emergency into effect Tuesday.

A drive-up novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing site opened Friday at the Craven County Health Department in New Bern and will be available 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday until further notice.

In order to be tested all individuals must first contact their primary care provider and then, if deemed necessary, a referral to the testing site will be made by the primary care provider. Testing will be done by appointment only.  All patients must show photo identification at their testing appointment.

In New Bern, city hall, human services, development services, parks and recreation administration, and public safety facilities are closed to the public. All business should be conducted electronically (phone, email, fax). For any matters of concern or questions regarding these modifications, call City Hall at 252-636-4000. Additionally, all events are suspended at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.

Currituck County

Currituck County issued a state of emergency effective Tuesday and will restrict starting Saturday visitor access. Effective at 9 a.m. Saturday, the county will restrict access by visitors to Corolla and the 4WD area.

Other closures and cancellations include the closure for 30 days of the Currituck Senior Center, Knotts Island Senior Center, and Powell’s Point Senior Center. The Senior Center will continue to provide the home-delivered meal service on a regular schedule.

Also closed for 30 days are the Barco Library, Corolla Library, and Moyock Library, Moyock Welcome Center, Corolla Visitors Center, Whalehead, Historic Jarvisburg Colored School and the public restroom facilities at Whalehead and the north and south beach access points are closed.

All county-sponsored events, all events held on county property and all county advisory board meetings in the next 30 days are canceled.

Public access to county offices will be permitted by appointment only. Citizens should contact staff to set an appointment, which will be conducted in a designated space that will be cleaned prior to and after each use.

Dare County

Restrictions for Dare County visitors that were put in place Tuesday will remain until conditions and guidance from state and federal public health officials warrant revisions.

Law enforcement is checking credentials at the checkpoints to ensure that government-issued IDs match the name listed on the entry permit or documentation being presented. In the interest of health and safety, please keep your window rolled up and place your documents against the windows for officers to view. Please respect the guidelines that have been established and do not try to access the county if you are a visitor. For entry guidelines, visit www.darenc.com/entry.

Playgrounds and public restrooms operated by the county are closed to the public. Parks are open but stay at least 6 feet apart.

EMS cannot provide nonemergency patient assistance unless a verifiable medical appointment exists.

The Outer Banks Hospital has implemented new visitor restrictions. Only one immediate family member over the age of 16 and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness may visit a patient at The Outer Banks Hospital and/or Medical Group clinic. The hospital began screening patients and visitors Tuesday for symptoms of illness as they enter the Medical Office Building and Main Lobby.

Duck Town Hall is open but officials encouraging requesting assistance remotely by calling 252-255-1234  or emailing info@townofduck.com. The Public Safety building is closed to non-emergent issues, including facility tours and the T-shirt shop.

Southern Shores is under a state of emergency. The town hall closed to the public Monday. Business is being conducted via phone, email, fax, or other virtual means. The meetings of all appointed Town advisory boards, commissions and committees will be modified to reduce vulnerability of people and property. Building inspections are being conducted as normal, however, meetings in person on site are limited.

All Kitty Hawk offices are open normal business hours but face-to-face contact will be limited. Visit website or call to discuss the best way to conduct business.

Kill Devil Hills offices remain restricted to the public. Access to Town Hall offices is by appointment only. If you have business with the Town call, email, or visit the website to schedule an appointment or to gain additional assistance. Please refer to www.kdhnc.com

In Nags Head,  Town Park on Barnes Street, Dowdy Park, and Whalebone Park and all bathrooms at Nags Head’s parks and beach and sound accesses are closed starting Friday. Town hall is open.

Gates County

Residents are encouraged to conduct as much county business as possible utilizing the website, email and phone calls.

Hertford County

Citizens are encouraged to utilize online services and payment options and conduct business via telephone and/or email. All training, meetings and workshops hosted at county offices have been canceled through March 31.

All senior centers are closed Wednesday through March 31. The sheriff’s office will be suspending fingerprinting services and vehicle assistance until further notice unless there is a child or pet inside.

The detention center visitation is now limited to Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Hyde County

The county Wednesday declared a state of emergency. As of Thursday, no visitors are permitted to visit Ocracoke. The restriction does not apply to workers, residents, vendors, or property owners.

New Hanover County

New Hanover County has one confirmed case according to its website Friday.

New Hanover County is open for business and one-on-one services but county-sponsored group activities and events at attractions and libraries are suspended until further notice. New Hanover County’s Public Libraries and Cape Fear Museum are closed to the public until further notice.

The county’s parks and gardens, including Airlie Gardens and the Arboretum, will remain open for visitors, but the education centers and enclosed areas at the county’s parks and gardens will be closed.

The Senior Resource Center’s recreation activities and classes are also suspended at this time. View additional information about social work and meal services here.

The Wrightsville Beach went into effect Friday. The oceanfront beach strand and soundside beaches of Wrightsville Beach have been closed to residents and visitors. All Town restroom facilities will be closed.

Residents and visitors are asked to refrain from using Town parks and other public spaces.

At this time, residents and visitors will still be able to enter and leave town without going through a checkpoint.

Wrightsville Beach town offices are closed to walk-in visitors but staff can be reached by phone or email. All residents are encouraged to conduct utility payments online All Town Parks and Recreation programs, facility reservations, and events are suspended until further notice.

Wilmington has made several adjustments to its scheduling and departments. Learn more on the website.

Onslow and Pender counties

Onslow County has one reported case as of Friday.

The county declared a state of emergency Wednesday.  Citizens are encouraged to use the website to access services and remote payment options where applicable.

Jacksonville offices and facilities are open, but officials encourage the use of online services when possible. A state of emergency went into effect Wednesday.

In Pender County, government business will continue to operate all county-sponsored group activities  and organized sports in county parks have been suspended.

At this time, the board of commissioners, planning board, and most other official government meetings will continue as scheduled. Additionally, county employees will not travel out of town for business, will hold meetings, as much as possible, by conference call, webinar or a virtual platform.

Visitation in the Pender County jail has been suspended until further notice.

Surf City starting at noon Friday closed all public beach access sites, public parking areas, and town parks to the public.

Pamlico County

State of emergency went into place in Pamlico County as of Tuesday.

Pasquotank County

One case was reported Friday for Pasquotank. A state of emergency is in place as of Tuesday for the county and Elizabeth City.

The public is encouraged to limit nonessential in-person interaction with county employees and departments and use any online services that may be available in addition to communicating with Pasquotank County employees via email or telephone.

In Elizabeth City, the  public safety lobby will be closed indefinitely. The city will be closing the following facilities: Knobbs Creek Recreation Center, ECPC Senior Center, Hugh Cale Community Resource Center, Griffin Street Utility Billing Satellite Office indefinitely. All special events are canceled until May 31,  which include the the North Carolina Potato Festival, TarWheel Cycling event and all First Friday Art Walk events.

Perquimans County

A state of emergency was enacted Wednesday for the county, and the towns of Hertford and Winfall.

The regional library is closed through March 29. The senior center is closed through March 31 Recreation center activities are postponed through March 31. The Extension Office has canceled programs through March 31.

Tyrrell County

No COVID-19 information available.

Washington County

Washington County offices are anticipated to remain open to the public at this time.

Plymouth Town Hall and all other town facilities will be closed to the public for 30 days starting Wednesday.

About the Author

Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.