New Hanover officials: “We can’t afford a July Fourth bump in COVID-19 infections”

Posted July 2, 2020 at 4:16 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Health officials are urging residents to follow safety measures of wearing a face covering when out in public, maintaining six feet of distance from others and washing hands frequently to slow the spread of COVID-19 as infections and hospitalizations rise across the region.

“We can’t afford a July Fourth bump in COVID-19 infections, especially with the increase in infection rate we are seeing over the last two weeks and looking ahead to more cases because of the increase in activity our area has seen over the last few weeks,” said New Hanover County Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “We can’t always see the underlying health conditions someone has that puts them at risk of severe illness, so why not all do our part to protect our loved ones, neighbors and community, and follow the prevention measures that slow the spread of COVID-19? Slowing the spread protects those at risk, and prevents overwhelming the healthcare system. We need to make sure our community members can continue to get the care they need, when they need it, whether it’s for COVID-19, a heart condition, a vehicle collision, or anything else you may need help with. This holiday weekend, think of others and please take the simple steps to save lives.”

This week, lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County surpassed 1,000, and is at 1,119 as of Thursday afternoon. Two additional deaths were also reported this week, bringing the number of COVID-19 related deaths of New Hanover County residents to seven. Cases doubled from June 19 to July 1, and is up approximately 435 percent since June 1. Cases are increasing among younger people and people in the LatinX community.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of North Carolina adults are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because they are over 65, have at least one underlying health condition, or both. Underlying health conditions effect people of all ages, and in 2018, 27 percent of people 18-24, 36 percent of people 25-49, and 49 percent of people 50-64 had at least one underlying health condition that is a risk factor for serious illness from COVID-19.

“Our region is seeing increased hospitalizations associated with COVID-19,” said NHRMC Chief Clinical Officer West Paul, MD, PhD. “We urge you to act now to prevent the spread of this virus and help protect your neighbors, especially those who may be at higher risk if they do get sick. Please don’t wait until you or a loved one is fighting this virus to do your part. Wear a mask, stay six feet from others, wash your hands, and stay home if you can.”

This holiday weekend, health officials urge residents and visitors to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 and protect one another:

  • Follow the 3 W’s and Executive Order 147 requiring face coverings in public.
    • Wear a face covering when out in public.
    • Wait at least six feet from others who are not members of your household.
    • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol when hand washing isn’t available.
  • Avoid gathering in groups. Gatherings of more than 10 people inside and 25 people outside are still prohibited under Executive Order 141.
  • If on the beach, maintain at least six feet of distance from other beach goers and swimmers at all times.
  •  If boating, kayaking, paddle boarding or taking part in other water activities:
    • Maintain distance at boat ramps or fuel docks.
    • Avoid using boat ramp docks while other people are on them.
    • Do not have anyone other than immediate family on your boat.
    • Do not tie up/raft up to other boats- keep your distance on the water.
    • Do not congregate on any sandbar or island.
  •  Stay home if you are sick, even if you are an essential worker. And cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).

For information about COVID-19, or to be connected with testing, call the New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 910-798-6800. (The Call Center will be closed Friday, July 3 in observance of the July 4th holiday).

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As of  4 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, there are 1,119 positive 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
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