NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials were not notified of any deaths of New Hanover County residents from COVID-19 this week, and – as of this morning – are monitoring 12 outbreaks and clusters in congregate living, including nursing homes, residential facilities and UNCW residence halls.
On Wednesday, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina will stay in Phase 3 of reopening for three more weeks. New Hanover County received a letter from the Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Quality encouraging local government to exercise more stringent enforcement of current restrictions and explore the use of orders and ordinances to expand on restrictions locally. However, New Hanover County health officials do not recommend local orders at this time, as recent trends in New Hanover County show a decline in daily cases of COVID-19.
“Our community members and businesses owners have worked tirelessly to implement safety measures and best practices, and have followed protective measures to slow the spread of COVID-19; and that work is represented in daily case counts declining,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “Our Public Health and county staff are not recommending further actions from the Board at this time, and they remain a resource to assist with safely reopening and conducting business. But, this doesn’t mean we can relax our own personal efforts. We must all continue to follow the guidance of our health officials – wear a mask, wait six feet from others and wash your hands often – to be able to continue to manage the response to COVID-19 in our community, prevent overrunning the healthcare system, protect one another from getting sick, and above all, save lives.”
Daily cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County have declined since a rise in September, from an average of 48 per day the first two weeks of September, to 28 per day the first two weeks of October. As of this morning, there have been 5,217 cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, with a presumed 4,677 recovered, approximately 503 people currently sick and experiencing symptoms. The New Hanover County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard will update tonight to reflect these numbers.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, protect those at risk of serious illness, and prevent additional measures restricting activities in New Hanover County, residents and visitors are urged to continue to follow the three Ws:
Residents are also encouraged to get their flu vaccine to help reduce the risk of respiratory illness and prevent the circulation of flu and COVID-19 in the community at the same time.
New Hanover County, in collaboration with New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) and Cape Fear Community College (CFCC), will offer a free drive-through flu vaccination event on Saturday, October 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until the vaccine runs out. The “Flu Thru” will also serve as a medication disposal location and will take place in downtown Wilmington in the CFCC student parking lot between Hanover and Brunswick streets, beside the Schwartz Center. No appointment, insurance, ID or proof of residency is required; and Spanish and ASL interpreters will be available. Learn more about the Flu Thru and medication disposal event here.
Public Health is also offering flu vaccinations at the Health and Human Services building, located at 1650 Greenfield Street in Wilmington, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to anyone in the community.
New Hanover County is one of several counties participating in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ surge COVID-19 testing initiative. Starting Tuesday, October 27, a free drive-through COVID-19 testing site will be located in UNCW parking lot 1A, located at the corner of Hurst and Hamilton Drives. This will be an open testing site for the general public, meaning symptoms or being a close contact to someone with COVID-19 is not necessary to be tested.
Anyone can be tested for COVID-19 for free at this site, and those under the age of 18 should be accompanied by their legal guardian. Health officials encourage those who have attended gatherings or visited establishments where social distancing was difficult to maintain to take advantage of this open testing opportunity. Open testing helps further slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying the virus in asymptomatic individuals and containing the virus before the virus is unknowingly spread to others
Tests are self-administered, meaning staff will hand the test components to the participant and instruct them on what to do. Parents or guardians will be asked to administer the test to young children. The participant will then hand the materials and test sample back for laboratory processing.
Starting Tuesday, the site will be open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. until November 24. No appointment is necessary, but individuals can pre-register with the testing manufacturer, eTrueNorth, for a faster process.
Additionally, New Hanover County Public Health continues to conduct outreach testing events at various sites to bring free COVID-19 testing directly to communities across the county, eliminating barriers to access. Testing criteria for these county-operated sites is COVID-19 symptoms or close contact to someone confirmed to have the virus. Screening and testing is available at each site by drive-through or walk-up, and is offered at no cost to the resident. No ID or insurance information is needed and face masks will be given to those who need one.
For more information on free open testing, community testing and a schedule of testing events, visit Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus or call the Coronavirus Call Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 910-798-6800.
To view the most recent case count data, information, updates and resources 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.