Pender County identifies first case of COVID-19

BURGAW –  The first case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Pender County. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has traveled outside the county. The individual was tested on March 31, 2020 and confirmation of a positive test result was received at the Pender County Health Department on April 3, 2020. This individual self-isolated at the onset of symptoms and remains in isolation.

Pender County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working to identify close contacts. Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for ten minutes or more. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.

“There is nothing to indicate this was a community-acquired transmission,” stated Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services Director. “All indications are this was travel-related. We are following all state protocols for contact tracing.”

Currently there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Residents should continue to shelter in place per the Governor’s Executive Order #121. We encourage everyone to practice social distancing of six feet, wash hands frequently, stay at home if you are sick, disinfect surfaces, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Social distancing is the best way to prevent or limit the spread of this disease.

For more information on COVID-19 preventive measures, please visit:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services-
Pender County Government-
Or call the health department at (910) 259-1230

April 3, Situation Report

Sit Report 23_04032020

Here is today’s situation report. We are pleased to report there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Pender County Health Department knows of 71 residents of Pender County who have been tested for the virus. Of those, 62 were confirmed negative, while 9 tests are currently pending.

Rid the rumors; know the facts

Please help us dispel rumors and misinformation circulating in our community. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis.

We want to help you distinguish between rumors and facts regarding Pender County’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We ask that you do your part to curb rumors by doing 3 things:
1. don’t believe the rumors,
2. don’t pass them along and
3. go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the coronavirus response.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pender County Health Department websites are reliable resources.

Rumor #1 Pender County is not prepared – FALSE.
Pender County Health Department is working closely with all county departments, providers and the hospital to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. We are following all guidance and recommendations from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Pender County Health Department is currently screening and testing anyone who meets the criteria established by DHHS. Our local health care providers in the county are also screening and testing.

Rumor #2 Pender County Health Department is closed – FALSE.
The Pender County Health Department is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. We see walk-ins and take appointments. We accept all insurances, Medicaid and offer a sliding fee scale for anyone without insurance.

Rumor #3 Pender County Health Department currently has no known COVID-19 cases because they only have 12 test kits – FALSE.
The health department and providers in the county have test kits and are evaluating and testing those individuals who meet the established testing criteria.

Rumor #4 I want to go to the beach, but I can’t – TRUE.
While sunshine is good for your health, beach accesses, public parking, and public parks at the Pender beaches are closed. This is to discourage large gatherings of people so the virus doesn’t spread. According to the World Health Organization and based on evidence so far, the coronavirus can be transmitted in all climates.

Rumor #5 I’m stuck inside my house and I’m not permitted to drive anywhere – FALSE.
You are allowed to move around for essential services, including your job, food shopping, doctor’s appointments, medicine pick-up, and outdoor exercise. We encourage regular exercise. Take a walk, jog or bike. It is TRUE that health clubs and gyms are closed to deter the spread of COVID-19.

Rumor #6 Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices and hardware stores are open. – TRUE.
While shopping for necessities, we urge to you to wipe down the handles of a shopping cart with a disinfectant, which is generally provided by the retailer at the door. Keep a 6 ft distance from everyone you encounter as much as possible. Use hand sanitizer if available. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Rumor #7 Only the elderly can get COVID-19 – FALSE
Everyone, including children, are vulnerable to COVID-19. It is extremely important for people at higher risk of getting sick to call their medical provider if they develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath. High-risk individuals include: those 65 years or older; someone with a high-risk condition like heart or lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, a compromised immune system, diabetes, or severe obesity, and pregnant women. People in these categories are more at risk for serious illness and hospitalization.

Rumor #8 I can get tested for COVID-19 if I don’t have any symptoms – FALSE
There are certain criteria to be tested for COVID-19. You must have symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath to be considered eligible for testing. If you are experiencing symptoms, please call ahead to your healthcare provider so they can prepare for your visit and limit the exposure to others.

Rumor #9 Pender County Board of Commissioners enacted a state of emergency – TRUE
A State of Emergency declaration is issued by elected officials of a county and/or municipality. The declaration gives property authorities additional power to do such things as close beach accesses, move livestock, close public parks, etc. The health director does not have the authority to issue a state of emergency. In the unincorporated areas of Pender County, a state of emergency declaration is issued by the chairman.

Rumor #10 If I get COVID-19 I will need to be hospitalized. – FALSE
According to the CDC, most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. For that reason, people who think they have COVID-19 showing mild symptoms such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing are encouraged to isolate themselves at home, separate themselves from others in their home as much as possible, and call their medical provider for advice. People can stop isolating themselves when they have met the following:
• It has been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms.
• You have had no fever for three days (72 hours) without any fever reducing medication
• Your other symptoms have improved

Rumor #11 Facebook is a trusted source of factual information. – FALSE
We urge our residents to stay informed. The CDC and the NC DHHS provides factual information and recommendations. Pender County offers factual information on the website as well as our Pender County Emergency Management and Pender County Facebook pages. We monitor those for non-factual comments.

Rumor #12 Safe hygiene and social distancing can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. – TRUE
We strongly encourage our residents to follow the recommended safe hygiene practices and social distancing.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home if you’re sick
• Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – a cough, fever, and shortness of breath – please contact your health care provider. It is extremely important for people at higher risk of getting sick to call their medical provider if they develop symptoms of fever or cough. High-risk individuals include: those 65 years or older; someone with a high-risk condition like heart or lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, a compromised immune system or severe obesity, and pregnant women.

Resources with factual information:
Pender County Health Department website,, features a COVID-19 microsite with information.
NC Department of Health and Human Services website
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
We will continue to identify rumors in the community and provide more accurate information as this pandemic evolves.

Here are more rumor/myth busters from the World Health Organization

Stay at home and take the Pender Hometown Hollywood Challenge

BURGAW – Pender County and the Town of Burgaw are poplar locations for Hollywood. Our shops, our parks, our schools, and more have been backdrops for hundreds of television and movie productions.

“We want to make the most of staying home during the pandemic,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County tourism director. “Our staff has put together a list of movies for anyone who has visited or resides in Pender County, Topsail Beach, Surf City, Watha, Atkinson, St. Helena, or Burgaw can compete. Identify the Pender County locations and you can win a gift basket packed with items from our local shops.”

To take the Pender Hometown Hollywood Challenge, follow these simple rules:
Watch these movies.
Identify Pender County locations used in the production of these movies.
Make a list. Check it twice.
Then email your list to by May 15.

The family or individual with the most correct answers will win a gift basket, filled with items from Pender County.

If you need a little help, watch Michael Raab’s video Hometown Hollywood. The video will be found on

“Some of these movies are family-friendly,” said Proctor. “Some require parental discretion. Most of these movies are available free on download or from the Pender County Library – call ahead to order.”

Here’s the list:
Secret Life of Bees
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the original)
Date with an Angel
The Jailhouse
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Silver Bullet

“There are so many movies we could have selected, but this is a good start,” said Proctor. “Let’s start the movie marathon! You don’t have to be a resident to win.”

Pender County meeting cancelations and/or postponements

BURGAW – In accordance with Governor Cooper’s Executive Order #021, and to ensure public engagement and participation is available to conduct county business, the following meetings have been canceled. Agenda items will be rescheduled for meetings to be held in the future:

• April 2 – the meeting of the Board of Equalization and Review (BOER) has been canceled.
• Planning Board – April 7 – Cancelled, case will roll over to next meeting;
• Board of Adjustment – April 15 – Cancelled, no hearings were scheduled;
• Tourism Development Authority – April 16 – Cancelled. Next meeting is May 23.
• All NC Cooperative Extension face to face meetings are cancelled as well. We will conduct any scheduled meetings or classes via Zoom webcast.

• The Parks Foundation of Pender County Golf Outing scheduled for May 1, has been postponed till the fall. TBD.

Pender County issues State of Emergency declaration


PENDER COUNTY – With the spread of COVID-19 in Southeastern North Carolina, Pender County authorities declared a state of emergency effective Monday, March 30, beginning at 5 p.m.

“Pender County has carefully monitored the Coronavirus,” said George Brown, Pender County chairman of the board of county commissioners. “We are coordinating our efforts through our capable county health director, Carolyn Moser, and Carson Smith, our interim emergency manager.”

Brown signed a Pender County State of Emergency late Monday, following his statements made by video. The video is available for viewing on the Pender County website, and on the county’s Facebook pages.

Starting today, the Pender County State of Emergency declaration will closely adhere to Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 121, which mandates a Stay at Home policy through April.

“The Stay at Home order is vital to mitigating the spread of COVID-19,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County director of health and human services.

All Pender County offices will remain open. Essential government work is being accomplished.

“The health department and human services are open and prepared to serve our citizens,” said Moser. “Our hours are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.”

“Pender County Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation and we support the health department during the pandemic,” said Carson Smith, interim emergency manager. “We urge everyone to follow the Stay at Home emergency declaration and Executive Order 121.”

For assistance call Pender County Health Department at 910-259-1230 or the EM office at 910- 259-1210.



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