NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials were notified of three deaths of county residents from COVID-19 this week, and – as of this morning – are monitoring 11 outbreaks and clusters in congregate living, including nursing homes, residential facilities and UNCW residence halls.
The individuals who died were in their 50’s, 70’s and 80’s respectively. All had underlying health conditions and were considered to be at high risk of serious illness.
This brings the total number of New Hanover County residents who have died from COVID-19 to 40. The New Hanover County Public Health COVID-19 dashboard will be updated in the coming days to reflect this number, once information is processed and reported by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
This week, data shows a slight elevation in new cases of COVID-19, and health officials are monitoring increases in COVID-19 in other parts of North Carolina. Residents are urged to remain diligent in wearing face coverings when out in public, maintaining six feet of distance from those outside of your household and washing hands and high touch surfaces well and often.
“We must work together as a community to prevent a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County and protect those at risk of serious illness” said New Hanover County Assistant Health Director Carla Turner, RN, MSHCA. “Our collective effort to wear our face coverings and follow personal protective measures are our best tools to protect ourselves and others. Be mindful of the activities you choose to participate in, and start planning now for alternative and virtual holiday celebrations so that the pandemic doesn’t get worse in our community as the holiday season goes on. We all play a part in protecting others and saving lives.”
For information and guidance on gatherings and holiday celebrations, visit CDC.gov.
On Wednesday, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 171, strengthening eviction protections for households unable to pay rent because of the impacts of COVID-19, and supplementing the NC HOPE initiative which helps North Carolina residents with rent and utility payments. Residents can get more information and apply for NC HOPE assistance by calling 2-1-1 or visiting nc211.org/hope.
Additionally, New Hanover County continues to assist residents with housing and child care financial assistance. Households can learn more and download applications for these programs at SocialServices.NHCgov.com/COVID.
New Hanover County is one of several counties participating in the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ surge COVID-19 testing initiative. Now through November 24, a free drive-through COVID-19 testing site is located in UNCW parking lot 1A, located at the corner of Hurst and Hamilton Drives.
This open testing site is free and for the general public, meaning symptoms or being a close contact to someone with COVID-19 is not necessary to be tested. Anyone under the age of 18 should be accompanied by their legal guardian.
”If you have attended gatherings or visited establishments where social distancing was difficult to maintain, please take advantage of this open testing opportunity,” said the county’s new Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko. “Even if you aren’t showing symptoms, you can be tested. This will help slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying the virus in asymptomatic individuals and containing the virus before it is unknowingly spread to others. It’s also important to remember that the test results are for the day you were tested, so following the three Ws and efforts to protect others must continue to be followed as COVID-19 is still present in our community.”
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.
This testing site is open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. until November 24 (The site will be closed in recognition of Veteran’s Day on Wednesday, November 11). No appointment is necessary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register with the testing manufacturer, eTrueNorth, for a faster process. Those who do not pre-register should expect a longer wait time and overall process at the site.
Additionally, New Hanover County Public Health continues to conduct weekend and weeknight 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 includes 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 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:
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.