New Hanover County Update: Register of Deeds Suspends In-Person Services, Playground Guidance, Personal Protective Equipment Donations, Public Health Nurses Conduct Test Sampling in Community

Posted March 22, 2020 at 6:16 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

County officials continue to prepare and implement enhanced guidance to reduce risks of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. Below is an update on county services and facilities, as well as the latest county information and reminders to help keep the community safe.


New Hanover County Register of Deeds will suspend all in-person vital records services beginning Monday, March 23. Vital records requests can continue to be made by mail or online at In addition, Register of Deeds recording services will only be available by appointment by calling 910-798-4530.


According to the CDC, transmission of COVID-19 could occur from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, then touching mouth, nose or possibly eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but additional caution should be taken.

If residents choose to use playgrounds, they should be prepared to wipe down surfaces with recommended cleaning products before and after use. Limited county supply of cleaning products does not allow for them to be provided in public playground areas. Cleaning products to wipe down equipment should be brought from home.

Parks, including walking trails are open and social distancing is important to prevent facility closures.


To prepare for future impacts of COVID-19, New Hanover County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) are working together to procure additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Donations are also welcome and outreach is ongoing to healthcare providers, industrial partners, the business community and the public.

Accepted items include:

  • 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 earloop masks
  • Unused surgical masks
  • Unused surgical masks with face shield
  • Unused goggles
  • Medical/dental gowns

There are two ways to donate:

  • Drop-off at NHRMC Business Center
    • 3151 S. 17th Street, Wilmington
    • Starting Monday, March 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Future days/times to be determined
  • Coordinate with the New Hanover Disaster Coalition

At this time, homemade or hand-sewn items are not accepted.


New Hanover County Public Health is deploying nurses to homes to conduct flu tests and COVID-19 sampling. Individuals are vetted by the Coronavirus Call Center public health nurses and determined to meet criteria by the Community Health team. Since Friday, March 20, public health nurses have conducted three visits to conduct flu tests. All flu tests were negative and resulted in COVID-19 sampling, with tests results pending.

The New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center can be reached at 910-798-6800 seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.


New Hanover County will update every afternoon with the most recent testing information in the county. Below is the most recent information, as of 2 p.m. on March 22:

  • Number of Test Samples Reported to the County: 211
  • Pending Test Sample Results: 133
  • Positive Test Results Reported to the County: 4
  • Negative Test Results Reported to the County: 74


Grocery and other retail stores are not included in mandatory closures and continue to operate while maintaining guidance of social distancing and increased cleanliness. Food and supplies are available and many establishments are dedicating time to older adults and those with underlying health concerns to shop during quiet times to reduce risk. Residents are encouraged to support local business while adhering to guidance to reduce risk, such as using online services, purchasing gift cards and ordering take out or delivery.

North Carolina is waiving some requirements to apply for unemployment benefits for individuals out of work because of measures taken to prevent the impact of COVID-19. Learn more at

New Hanover County Schools is providing meals for children under 18, available for pick-up at 14 locations. Additionally, a Social Distance Learning website is available for students to continue school work while schools are closed. Information about meal program and online learning is available at

Additional community resources are available to the public through partners at the New Hanover Disaster Coalition.


New Hanover County, in line with federal recommendations and actions taken by the state, encourages residents to practice social distancing, and under the New Hanover County State of Emergency prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. To practice social distancing, individuals should maintain a distance of six feet from others, even in outdoor settings like parks, trails, picnic shelters and basketball and tennis courts. Signs have been placed throughout county parks reminding residents to practice social distancing.

According to the CDC, transmission of COVID-19 is thought to be between person-to-person:

  • Who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Transmission of COVID-19 could also occur from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, then touching mouth, nose or possibly eyes.

Social distancing, and other community guidance measures, reduce the risk of COVID-19 and are additional ways the community as a whole can protect those believed to be most at risk of serious illness: people over the age of 65, and those with underlying health conditions.


Currently, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has established COVID-19 testing standards. Only those who meet the following criteria should ask their doctor or local health department about being tested for COVID-19:

  1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days
  2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative flu test, and no other more likely respiratory diagnosis.

If you think you might have novel coronavirus, call ahead to your primary care provider or health clinic before traveling to their site to alert them of your symptoms so they can make appropriate steps to protect you and others.


View community guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for households, businesses, community organizations and others here. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents are encouraged to continue increased prevention measures and practice limited contact with others:

  • Follow social distancing: gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, under the State of Emergency, and individuals are encouraged to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).
  • Stay home and away from others when you are sick.

Residents are also encouraged to prepare for the potential impacts of COVID-19 as you would for other emergencies, using the ReadyNHC steps:

  • Make a Plan
  • Plan for social distancing and other prevention measures.
  • If at-risk, cancel plans to attend large events and non-essential travel.
  • Plan for limiting the need to go out in public by utilizing services like delivery of groceries and other goods.
  • Build a Kit
  • Have non-perishable food and water, medications and anything you need to stay home for several days to limit the risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in your household.
  • Stay Informed
  • Find reliable information about COVID-19:, and


As of 6:15 p.m. Sunday, March 22, 2020, there are four cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County and preparedness plans are in place for the health and safety of our community. For updates and resources related to the COVID-19 virus in New Hanover County, visit or call 910-798-6800.



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Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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