COVID-19 Update: Overall Case Count at 53 with 32 people recovered, Additional demographics, Residents reminded to stay home over holiday weekend, Essential Retail Information

Posted April 8, 2020 at 5:22 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials are investigating one additional positive case of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total overall case count to 53. The new case today is a contact of a previously-confirmed case. The individual is isolated and Public Health is working on contact tracing to determine those who have been in close contact with them.

Of the 53 overall cases, there are 32 individuals who are considered recovered – meaning they have been fever free for at least three days without the use of fever reducing medication, they have improved respiratory symptoms, and it has been at least seven days since their symptom onset.

Beginning today, patient demographic percentages for COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County will be shared to provide an additional level of data that includes race, age and gender. Of the 53 overall cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County:

  • 55% female, 45% male
  • 72% White, 15% percent Black/African American, 9% Hispanic/Latino, and 4% Unknown
  • 0% are 0-17 years old, 9% are 18-24 years old, 36% are 25-49 years old, 32% are 50-64 years old, and 23% are 65+ years old.

“At this time, the demographics of our COVID-19 patients are in line with New Hanover County’s overall demographics,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “But across the country, we are seeing a concerning trend that African Americans are statistically having more severe illness than other demographic groups and that is something we are actively monitoring in our own community. We do know that African Americans may statistically have a higher rate of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, and other health conditions that have been identified as risk factors for becoming more severely ill if they get COVID-19. We know that there are underlying health inequities that could also lead to what is being seen nationally too. So I want to emphasize again to every single person in our community: please do all you can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19…stay home, physically distance yourself from others, and do not gather in groups. These steps will help keep you safe and protect others – and this will save lives.”

Stay At Home

New Hanover County residents remain under the Governor Cooper’s state-wide Stay at Home Executive Order and New Hanover County’s county-wide restrictions. Residents should only leave their homes for essential work, to take care of others, obtain food, seek medical care, or volunteer for a charitable service. Groups are limited to no more than 10 people, and people must practice physical distancing and remain six feet apart from others.

“I know this weekend and coming days are typically a time for family get-togethers for Easter and Passover celebrations,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “But we are at a critical time in our fight against COVID-19 and it is so important that you stay at home. We know this virus is here in our community and our region, so traveling anywhere except for those essential reasons would put you and those around you at greater risk. We have to keep staying in front of this virus, and these restrictions are helping us do that. So please listen. Please stay home and stay safe.”

Essential Retail Stores

Retailers have been asked, under the county’s order, to close off “any portion of its facility dedicated to non-essential goods that it is reasonably capable of closing.” However, essential business retailers may choose to close off additional areas of their store, more restrictive of the state and local orders.

Below is an outline of general items and goods deemed essential under the state-wide and county-wide orders, as determined by the county and city legal teams. If a business chooses to limit the sale of essential items in their establishment, they can do that as that is their business decision.

  • Essential:  food/beverages/groceries (for people and pets), pharmacy/medicine items, health/beauty items, electronics (especially those that assist with mobility, like cell phones), office supplies, educational books, lawn/garden, construction/hardware/home maintenance, housewares, appliances, vehicle maintenance and repair
  • Non-Essential:  furniture, clothing (except for specific clothing used to make cloth masks), sporting goods, toys (for people or pets), music, movies, greeting cards & party supplies

As a reminder, retailers are able to sell any and all goods online and via curbside pick-up. View a list of frequently asked questions related to the current orders, which includes a list of essential and non-essential businesses, here.

Slow the Spread

Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Comply with the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and New Hanover County restrictions.
  • Wear Cloth Face Coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Stay home unless you must travel for essential purposes. If you must leave your home, follow proper physical distancing protocols: don’t gather in groups of more than 10 and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if you are an essential worker. And cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, counter tops and daily work surfaces).

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As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, there have been 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. For updates and resources related to the COVID-19 virus in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages:  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.

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