NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials have identified five additional positive case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in New Hanover County – bringing the county’s total confirmed case count to nine. All five new positive test results were received today, March 23, 2020.
Four of the cases appear to be travel related. The fifth case was reported late in the day on Monday and information is still being gathered to determine the person’s travel history and symptom onset. All five people are isolated, and Public Health is working on contact tracing to determine those who were in close contact with these individuals while they were symptomatic.
As of 5 p.m. on March 23, there are 244 test samples reported to the county. Of those, nine have been confirmed positive, 92 have been confirmed negative and 144 are still pending.
“COVID-19 is unlike anything we have ever seen before, and that is why unprecedented measures are being taken across the country and in our own community,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “It’s so important that people listen to the guidance being given. Stay home if you can, don’t gather in groups of more than 10 people, and stay six feet away from others. Our actions now will help lessen the burden on our healthcare system and protect those most vulnerable in our community.”
New Hanover County will provide updates on any positive cases considered a low risk for community spread in a general daily update unless a serious public health concern requires a separate release.
PUBLIC LIBRARY HOURS OF OPERATION
All four public library locations are currently offering curbside pick-up of reserved materials and they have updated their hours of operation to Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Virtual offerings, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and more social distancing activities are available at libguides.nhcgov.com/library.
No fines will be charged on overdue materials until further notice, and new patrons may register for a card online and request materials immediately.
Today, Governor Roy Cooper implemented additional orders for everyone in North Carolina. A summary of those orders is below:
SYMPTOMS & TESTING
Today, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced new guidance, consistent with guidance from the CDC, regarding testing for COVID-19. Changes in testing recommendations include: People with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do NOT need testing and should be instructed to stay at home to recover.
Mild symptoms are defined as fever and cough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate respiratory illness, with those over 65 or with underlying health issues like chronic lung disease, asthma, compromised immune systems and obesity are at higher risk of serious illness. Pregnant women should also be monitored since they are known to be at risk of viral illness. View the most recent information about who is at most risk at CDC.gov.
If you are experiencing fever and cough with more severe symptoms, including shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, altered thinking, cyanosis (blueish discoloration of the skin) or other ailments, or if you are at-risk of more serious illness, call your healthcare provider or walk-in clinic before visiting the office to alert staff of symptoms, so they can take appropriate steps to prepare for your visit.
People who are tested for COVID-19 by their doctor or New Hanover County Public Health should meet the following criteria, in accordance with guidance from NCDHHS:
Residents can call the New Hanover County Public Health Coronavirus Call Center to speak with a nurse who can answer questions and assess their individual risk and, if needed, connect them with a provider. The Coronavirus Call Center can be reached at 910-798-6800 and is open Monday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
New Hanover County Public Health is deploying nurses to homes to conduct flu tests and, if needed, COVID-19 sampling. Individuals must be vetted by the Coronavirus Call Center and determined to meet criteria by the Community Health team.
RESOURCES, DONATIONS & SUPPLIES
STEPS TO TAKE NOW
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents are encouraged to continue increased prevention measures and practice limited contact with others:
Residents are also encouraged to prepare for the potential impacts of COVID-19, using the ReadyNHC steps:
As of 5 p.m. on Monday, 23, 2020, there are nine positive case 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 Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus or call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800.