Beaufort County Emergency Management: COVID-19 Update (3-19-2020) | Beaufort County Now

The following information is as of 5pm beaufort county, emergency services, coronavirus, updates, covid-19, march 20, cvd19
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Beaufort County Emergency Management: COVID-19 Update (3-19-2020)

Press Release:

3/18/2020 Beaufort County, NC
The following information is as of 5pm
Updates from our previous posting have been highlighted.

    Case Statistics
 PopulationActive CasesDeaths
Worldwide7.6 Billion242,345 (+28,335)9,996 (+1,269)
USA330 Million13,383 (+2,109)176 (+26)
NC10.4 Million121 (+28)0
Beaufort Co.49,00000
*Text in red indicates changes since our last update.*

  • 5% of all active cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization). This is down from 19% just 3 weeks ago.
  • NC has 121 confirmed cases across 18 counties, with 0 deaths. All confirmed cases were known to have direct contact with another infected person, or recently traveled to areas with known, widespread outbreaks.
  • Beaufort County currently has no confirmed cases.
  • Eastern NC counties with current cases include: Brunswick (1), Craven (2), Onslow (1), Pitt (1) Sampson (1), Wayne (1) and Wilson (2). Durham (32) and Wake (22) counties have the most cases. These persons continue to be monitored by local Health Department personnel.

    Mitigation Efforts
  • Beaufort County Government has implemented "social distancing" measures in all areas where the public and county staff interface. This initiative will use a combination of preexisting building elements (ie. countertops, entry ways, etc.) and temporary barriers to allow for at least 6' of space between employees and the public for as much of the interaction as possible.
  • The City of Washington closed the following city office building to the public until further notice:
    • City Hall
    • Bobby Andrews Recreation Center
    • George H. and Laura E. Brown Library
    • Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center
    • Moore Aquatic and Fitness Center
    • Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex
  • Beaufort County Schools is closed for the next 2 wks. They will be offering free breakfast and lunch drive through from 10:30 - 12:30 pm at the following locations:
    • Northeast Elementary School
    • Eastern Elementary School
    • John Cotton Tayloe Elementary School
    • Chocowinity Primary School
    • SW Snowden Elementary School
  • Packed lunches for school aged kids will also be served at the 9th Street Housing Authority office from 10:30am to 12:30pm. This will be from Monday-Friday. Recipients will need to provide the child's name.
  • Additional information and updates can be found on Beaufort County School's Website.
  • All assisted living facilities in Beaufort County have restricted visitations to end of life visits only.
  • Vidant has enacted the following restrictions: Only one immediate family member, over the age of 16 and not exhibiting any symptoms of illness, may visit Vidant Beaufort Hospital or accompany a patient to an appointment at a Vidant clinic. This applies to the hospital, all Vidant Beaufort area clinics and the Vidant Beaufort Hospital emergency department. Only one family member per patient PER DAY.
  • North Carolina is currently under the following executive orders:
    • Restricting dine-in services at all restaurants / bars effective at 5pm today. These businesses will continue to be allowed to provide carry-out and delivery services.
    • Limit gatherings to less than 100 people. (Exceptions include, but are not limited to retail stores, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.) At the moment, this order has not been amended to match the current CDC recommendation of less than 50.

    Symptoms (Sourced from John Hopkins Univ., & CCDC)
    As a relatively new virus strand, researchers are still collecting and interpreting statistical data on the symptoms experienced with COVID -19. However, here is what has been determined so far:

  • COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms. It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.
  • It rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat. These symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients. Sore throat, sneezing and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.
  • Additionally, a sampling of 72,314 cases in China found the following:
    • 80% of case are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
    • 7% are severe and develop into pneumonia and shortness of breath.
    • 4.7% were defined as critical, and included respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure.
  • The following pre-existing illnesses put patients at higher risk for complications/severe symptoms:
    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic Respiratory Disease
    • Hypertension

    Conversations and announcements continue at the federal and state levels regarding mass and / or rapid testing for COVID-19, with Wake county hosting a "drive through" style test site today. Today's talks also included expanding testing abilities to local medical providers via state and commercial laboratories. While the supply of test collection kits is on the rise, they remain limited, and are being prioritized to areas with more concentrated outbreaks. As such, test conducted at Beaufort County's Health Department will continue to be subject to the following requirements.

  1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
  2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test

    Beaufort County’s Health Department has conducted 17 tests to date, with 11 negative results, and 6 still being processed at the state lab.

    Test results are typically returned between 24 and 72 hrs, depending on the demand of the laboratory facility being used.

    We will pass along information pertaining to additional test(s) or testing requirements as they become available.

    While testing is currently the spotlight topic and serves the beneficial purpose of identifying COVID-19 victims, it is a diagnostic step, and not a treatment. As cases continue to develop, it will be important that we focus on treating the symptoms that an infected person(s) may experience.

    There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Treatments are specific to the symptoms experienced by the individual and may range depending on severity. For example, over the counter medicines may be an effective treatment for fever, cough, body aches etc. in some individuals. Others may require the services and treatments provided by a trained medical professional.

    *White House officials have announced that an experimental vaccine would be entering human testing this week. However, there was no indication of when it would be available for the public.*

    Retail Commodities
    North Carolina's State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been monitoring the supply chains of grocery and other retail stores. As of Monday morning, representatives from distributors for Wal-Mart, Foodlion, etc reported that commodity sales over the past 3 days have exceeded what is normal sold in a month. As such, they are encouraging everyone to return to their normal purchasing habits and refrain from bulk buying and / or hoarding. Distributors have reported having many of the supplies need to replenish stores and have begun to do so. North Carolina has assisted that effort by lifting many of the travel and weight restrictions of transport services.

    Individual/Community Mitigation Efforts
  • If sick, STAY HOME! (for at least 72 hours after symptoms go away)
    • If needed, call your provider or the local health department. Call, DO NOT come in.
  • Wash your hands FREQUENTLY with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact (less than 6 ft) with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it away.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

    Workplace Protection
  • Employers should take necessary precautions as they see fit, to ensure the safety of their employees. This may include enforcing social distancing measure, teleworking, etc.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home. For your business or organization, encourage staff to stay home which may inquire the alteration or review of your leave policy.
  • Disinfect work surfaces, including equipment., often
    • Pay special attention to common surfaces such as phones, door handles, radios, steering wheels, etc.
  • Use technology for updates and information exchange instead of in-person meetings.
  • Limit visitors and family to workplace.
  • Early recognition of employees that are ill is important to protecting your entire staff.

    What to Expect in the Future?
    The mitigation efforts listed above remain the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, given the social and travel habits of today's population, we must also acknowledge that we will most likely have cases in Beaufort County. We expect that and are prepared to respond accordingly. The announcement of a local case, or cases should serve as a reminder of the importance of practicing our mitigation efforts, and not simply a source for panic.

    As cases continue to escalate, you will see a shift in focus from testing to treatment. Again, testing is a diagnostic step, not a cure or treatment of symtptoms.

    There will be a significant increase in known case over the coming days. These increases are primarily contributed to widespread testing initiatives, as well as community outbreaks now in the larger metropolitan areas of New York and Washington.

    Economic Impacts and Mitigation
    The systemic effects of social distancing has and will continue to impact our local economy. Particularly our local restaurants, many of which continue to offer carryout / drive through options. The status of local businesses and restaurants can be found by visiting the link below from the Washington Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. Please continue to support these locations when possible during this difficult time:

    There are also several conversations at the federal and state levels regarding economic initiative. North Carolina is in the process of lifting many of the unemployment guidelines for those seeking assistance. Details pertaining to this initiative will be forthcoming.

    We have created a resource page that can accessed at:

    This resource page contains guidance for businesses, long term care facilities, families, and more.

    We are here to offer support and answer any questions or concerns. We are encouraging all community partners to share accurate information and promote it within your businesses, communities, and elsewhere. Beaufort County's website and Facebook page are great ways to stay up to date on accurate information.

  • Chris Newkirk
  • Deputy Director
  • Beaufort County Emergency Services
  • 1420 Highland Dr
  • Washington, N.C. 27889
  • Office: (252) 940-6511
  • Cell: (252) 378-5352


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