NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC –County officials continue to implement enhanced guidance to reduce the risk and are continuing to prepare for the potential impact of COVID-19 in New Hanover County.
As of 5 p.m. on March 17, 2020, there are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County.
“The measures we are taking now will help to ensure our community is as protected and safe as possible from this new virus, and I have been incredibly impressed with how our community has reacted,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “You have come together, you are supporting each other, and you are remembering the most vulnerable in our community who need our help now. Reach out to your older friends and neighbors to check on their well being and offer help if you can. Have your plans in place to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. If these things are done, there is no reason to panic.”
Enhanced Community Guidance and County Closures
New Hanover County is following the recommendations from the federal government and actions taken by the state of North Carolina, and limiting in-person meetings and facility use to less than 10 people.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, New Hanover County will close its Public Libraries (online and curbside services available at Library.NHCgov.com) and Cape Fear Museum 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. View details here.
Before presenting at a county office or facility for services, residents are encouraged to call ahead to see if their need can be met over the phone. County department contact information can be found at NHCgov.com.
New Hanover County has established a Public Health Coronavirus Call Center. Residents with questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can call and speak to a public health nurse and, if needed, be connected with a provider who will then determine if a flu test and/or COVID-19 test is needed.
View community guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for households, businesses, community organizations and others here.
Restaurants and Bars will close at 5 p.m. to sit-down patrons, in accordance with Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order announced today. Takeout and delivery options can continue, and many businesses have already altered operations to continue to provide services.
Schools are closed until March 30, and gatherings of 100 people or more are prohibited in accordance with Executive Order 117, issued March 14. New Hanover County, as stated above, is recommending no more than 10 people be gathered at one time, based on federal guidance.
Supplies and Resources
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.
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 NHCS.net.
Additional community resources are available to the public through partners at the New Hanover Disaster Coalition.
To help eliminate the number of people going into physician offices and to increase service to the community, New Hanover County Public Health is planning a process to deploy public health nurses directly to residents, in a safe manner, after they are pre-screened and referred by the Coronavirus Call Center. This enhanced process is expected to begin next week based on need and supplies.
In order to be ready in case it is needed, the county is also working with New Hanover Regional Medical Center and other healthcare partners to collaborate on a drive-thru COVID-19 sampling location here in the county if health officials determine this is needed.
What You Can Be Doing Now
Residents are encouraged to increase prevention measures and practice limited contact with others:
Residents are also encouraged to prepare for the potential impacts of COVID-19 as you would for other emergencies, using the ReadyNHC steps:
As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, but 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 Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.