New Hanover County continues expanded COVID-19 testing, shares Memorial Day safety reminders

Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:35 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County will continue to offer expanded, community-wide COVID-19 diagnostic testing to residents in the weeks to come, based on the community’s need. The drive-through testing location, which has been in downtown Wilmington, will transition into a smaller-scale operation behind the Scottish Rite Temple on 17th Street in Wilmington, beginning next week.

Residents who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should still call the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to be pre-screened by a public health nurse and scheduled to visit an open-air, drive-through location. (The call center will be closed Monday, May 25, for the Memorial Day holiday.)

Since April 29 when the county expanded its testing, New Hanover County Public Health has conducted 608 diagnostic COVID-19 tests. Of those, 33 have returned positive, 511 negative and 64 are still pending results.

“When the county began expanded testing efforts, our plan was to offer this service until May 22, but we have seen a steady need for COVID-19 testing in our community,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “The county has the resources and expertise to continue this valuable service, which is especially important as businesses reopen and activity increases. So our team is moving the site and scaling it down to make it even more efficient and accommodate the current demand. And not only are we testing people with symptoms, but our Public Health team is also offering testing to anyone who is determined to be a close contact of a positive case. This expands our visibility even more, and helps identify and contain new cases of COVID-19 quicker than before.”

A “close contact” is someone who lives in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19, cares for a sick person with COVID-19, or was within six feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes. View a video explanation from Public Health here.

A list of other testing sites in the community, and across the state, can be found here 

Memorial Day Safety Reminders 

“As the Memorial Day holiday approaches and the weather gets warmer, we know people will go out more and visitors will come to our area,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “As activity increases, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 threat hasn’t disappeared. The virus is still in our community, so every single one us needs to remember to practice physical distancing and remain six feet away from others, wear a face cover and continue with your protective measures when going out in public. Each of our individual actions help protect one another and those at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.”

Over Memorial Day weekend and beyond, Health officials continue to encourage the public to take personal protective actions to help keep the rate of COVID-19 low and to slow the spread of the virus:

  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings.
  • If you must leave your home, follow proper physical distancing protocols: don’t gather in groups 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, countertops and daily work surfaces).
  • Comply with state and municipal restrictions and/or recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Memorial Day Closings 

Most county operations, including the Coronavirus Call Center, will be closed on Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day. The county’s landfill will be open to the public, but the HazWagon and Household Hazardous Waste facility will be closed.

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As of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, there have been 146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. For more information about COVID-19 in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: TwitterFacebook,  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