As key indicators remain stable, North Carolina moves to ‘Safer At Home’ Phase 2

Phase 2, Safer At Home, begins Friday, May 22 at 5 pm

Bars, indoor entertainment venues, gyms, and public playgrounds remain closed; Restaurants, personal care businesses, and pools open with limitations & safety requirements

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22 at 5 pm. Read Executive Order No. 141. After two weeks in Phase 1, the state’s overall key indicators remain stable but the continued increases in daily case counts signal a need to take a more modest step forward in Phase 2 than originally envisioned.

“North Carolina is using the data to guide our decisions about when to lift COVID-19 restrictions, and overall our key indicators remain stable,” said Governor Cooper. “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.”

“From the beginning, North Carolinians have joined together to confront this crisis. We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen.
Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the state is stable but still has increasing daily new lab confirmed case counts.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days                                                                                                                    • North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS testing information website.
Tracing Capability
• The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired more than 150 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments.
Personal Protective Equipment
• Supply chains continue to improve.

What’s included in Safer At Home Phase 2?
Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.

Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.

Some businesses will remain closed in Phase 2 including: bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys.

Certain businesses will be open at limited capacity with other requirements and recommendations including:

Restaurants at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; personal care businesses, including salons and barbers, at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements; pools at 50% capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings.

Childcare facilities, day camps and overnight camps will be open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Retail businesses allowed to open in Phase 1 at 50% capacity will continue at that level.

Public health recommendations are provided for worship services to practice enhanced social distancing and other cleaning and hygiene practices.

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Read NC DHHS guidance for various sectors.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 2.

Pender County Nature Photography Contest winners announced

BURGAW – Pender County Tourism and Pender County Parks & Recreation announced the winners of the Pender County Nature Photography Contest.

Winners in the 15 and under amateur youth category are Liberty Wilborn in first place, Richie Marsh in second place, and Kaiden Baker in third place.

Winners in the adult professional category are Sue Benden in first place, Amy Shores in second place, and Jeff Hall in third place.

With the amount of wonderful submissions in the adult amateur category, the judges chose the best top five. The winners in the adult amateur category are Dana Adami in first place, Bernie Braak in second place, and Milissa Acres in third place, Kirk Binning in fourth place, and Lydia McKeel in fifth place.

There were also three Judge’s Choice photographs awarded which include those of Bo Matthews, Raymond Moore, and Jane O’Conner.

The photo contest was open to the public with a large participation. Prizes and gift certificates are being awarded for the winners in each category.

“The contest had more than 100 submitted photos which either fell into the categories of adult amateur, adult professional, or the 15 and under amateur youth category,” states Zachary White, Pender County Parks and Recreation. “We look forward to this becoming an annual contest.”

“We received some of the best photos of nature taken within Pender County,” states Olivia Dawson, Pender County Tourism. “This contest was a great way to show off some great photography skills while capturing the beauty throughout Pender County.”

“We are happy to announce the winners of the Pender County Nature Photography Contest,: said Dawson.

Winning entrants were contacted by phone and e-mail. Submitted photos will be used in published materials giving photo credit to the photographer and provided locations.

For more information contact Pender County Parks & Recreation Department 910-259-1330 or the Tourism Office 910-259-1278.

Pender County Utilities issue Stage 1 Voluntary Water Restrictions in Hampstead and Scotts Hill

BURGAW – Today Pender County Utilities (PCU) issued voluntary water restrictions for Hampstead and Scotts Hill, including the neighborhoods of Avendale, Cross Creek and Harrison Cove, as well as Island Creek Road and the neighborhoods of Wylie Branch and the Reserve at Island Creek.

“Pender County Utilities water customers in these areas are urged to reduce their water usage by 5 percent,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director.

Keel cites the factors necessary in issuing the Stage 1 Voluntary Water Restrictions are due to delays in construction of the Hampstead/Scotts Hill Well Project and increased usage of water from the Rocky Point-Topsail and Scotts Hill Water and Sewer District systems.

“PCU worked diligently to improve the existing system,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County manager. “Crews installed new equipment to supplement our water supply from Wallace as well as adjusted the county’s pumping station and valves that will maximize the current system. Later this summer, one of the Hampstead wells will become operational, which will help us meet our daily water demand.”

“Customer cooperation is essential, especially regarding outdoor water usage,” said Keel. “Irrigation typically has the biggest negative impact on the availability of water between May and August. We recommend irrigating landscapes a maximum of 1-inch per week.”

Additional practical measure to reduce water consumption include:
• Prevent water waste, runoff, and do not water impervious surfaces.
• Water plants deeply to encourage root growth.
• Wash only full loads in clothes and dishwashers.
• Use spring-loaded nozzles on garden hoses.
• Identify and repair all water leaks.
• Water shrubbery the minimum amount required.
• Limit vehicle and boat washing to the minimum.
• Refrain from washing down outside areas such as sidewalks and patios.
• Use showers rather than baths and limit showers to no more than 4-minutes.
• Refrain from leaving faucets running while shaving or while rinsing dishes.
• Install water-flow restrictive devices in showerheads.
• Use disposable and biodegradable dishes.
• Install water-saving devices such as plastic bottles or commercial units in toilet tanks to reduce volume.
• Ensure the toilet flapper valves are not leaking – test with a food coloring to the toilet tank and visually checking to see if the color appears in the bowl. If a color shows, the toilet is leaking.
• Store drinking water in refrigerator to avoid trying to run it until cool from the tap.

For more information regarding the Stage 1 Voluntary Water Restrictions, call PCU at 910-259-1570.

NC COVID-19 indicators remain stable, 200 testing sites available

Phase 1 remains in effect, more time needed to watch key indicators

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today shared an update on North Carolina’s key COVID-19 indicators. The data and trends show that North Carolina remains stable nearly one week into Phase 1.

“Our COVID-19 decisions are guided by the data and the science,” said Cooper. “We will use the time in this phase to keep a careful eye on the data and the indicators before we are ready to announce the start of Phase 2. North Carolinians should continue to stay home if they can and take precautions to keep themselves safe.”

“Continued stability in these trends is a real positive for our state. While we remain on a good path for the 14-day trends we need to see to move to Phase 2, our progress as a state is still dependent on our individual actions,” said Dr. Cohen. “We need to continue to protect our loved ones and our neighbors. If you leave home, practice three Ws – wear, wait and wash.”

Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen also announced that DHHS now has a list of testing locations on the DHHS website. The list includes more than 200 sample collection sites in 54 counties, with more being added as they are verified. The list is comprised of health care providers, pharmacies and retail locations, local health departments and others that are providing testing for COVID-19. Some of the sites that are federally funded do not cost anything for the individual being tested. Doctors and clinicians may also provide testing at their offices.

Based on the metrics laid out last month by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, officials need to continue watching the trends before announcing a shift into Phase 2.

Secretary Cohen reported North Carolina remains stable on the following key metrics:

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases is slightly increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive has been decreasing and is starting to level.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina has doubled the daily testing rate from approximately 2,500-3,000 to more than 6,000

Tracing Capability
• The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has already hired close to 100 new contact tracers adding to the 250 already working at our local health departments.

Personal Protective Equipment
• Supply chains continue to improve with the exception of gowns.

The Phase 1 executive Order remains in effect until 5 pm on Friday, May 22.

However, the end of this Order does not necessarily mean the state will move to Phase 2. Phase 2 will only start if data and indicators remain stable.
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Water wells and reverse osmosis plant on tap for US 17 corridor

HAMPSTEAD – Pender County is proactively addressing the Hampstead and Scotts Hill water needs with a well construction project that is underway now and a reverse osmosis project that will take place over the next five years.

“The well construction project is underway in Hampstead with operation of the first well by the end of this summer,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director. “Both new wells will be operational by early 2021.”

The two wells, located at the Hampstead Annex and Hampstead Kiwanis Park, will produce approximately 504,000 gallons per day.

“In June, depending on bidding results this week, construction of a water processing building, piping, and tie-in to our current system can begin,” said Keel. “Both the wells and the constructions should be finished no later than 2021.

“We will have one of the wells operational on a temporary basis by late summer,” said Chairman George Brown, Pender County Board of County Commissioners.

“These wells will supplement Pender County Utilities’ water supply primarily along the US Hwy 17 corridor in Eastern Pender County,” said David Williams of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “Meanwhile, the commissioners authorized an extensive water study to determine long-term solutions.”

During the commissioners’ March budget retreat, the study was reviewed.

“We determined the reverse osmosis plant made the most economical sense,” said Brown.

“The project will take place over the next five years,” said Keel. “We will hire engineering services within the next few months.”

Keel said site selection and plans for piping and an elevated tank in the Scotts Hill area are included in the infrastructure project.

“We have applied for funding from the State Revolving Fund and a special, one-time funding source from the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act (ASADRA),” Keel said.

Pender County is one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County manager, “Our infrastructure must be designed to accommodate the county’s future growth along the US Hwy 17 corridor.”

Pender County Courthouse restoration and renovations update

BURGAW – Pender County Board of Commissioners approved the hiring of Thomas Construction Group as the general contractor for the Pender County Courthouse interior restoration.

“The courthouse is a valued county landmark that was damaged during Hurricane Florence,” said Allen Vann, Assistant County Manager and Director of Facilities. “Evaluation, reconstruction, and renovations have been underway for more than 18 months. Our goal in this construction project is to make this historic building more resilient and preserve it for future generations.”

Thomas Construction Group will begin work in June to repair storm damage as well as renovate and relocate new mechanical and electrical systems. This move which will protect the building against future storms and damages which will in turn, alleviate disruption of services to Pender citizens.

The 84-year old county courthouse will require lead and asbestos abatement, ADA improvements, and repair and replacement of plaster work, as well as custom woodworking, a new elevator shaft, and new courthouse seating. This work is tentatively scheduled for completion by year end 2020.

In addition, the exterior work of the Courthouse performed by Stone Restoration (which included brick repointing as well as replacement, sealing, and painting of weathered wood around the windows, doors, and roofline) will be complete as of June 7, 2020.

“This building is important to the landscape of Pender County,” said Vann. “Preserving the courthouse’s integrity and making it more resilient is the goal of county officials.”

Phase one of re-opening to begin on May 8

Based on data trends, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will move into Phase 1 of a 3-phase plan on May 8, which modifies the stay-at-home order and allows some formerly closed businesses to reopen.

Executive Order No. 138 may be accessed at the following link: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO138-Phase-1.pdf

Section 4(A) and (B) of the Executive Order addresses restaurants and bars. Restaurants may remain open if consumption of food and beverages occurs off-premises and restaurants should follow social distancing transmission reduction recommendations, including the use of face coverings.

In addition, the Secretary of NCDHHS has determined that the seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19 and restaurants must be restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery only and bars must close.

Section 4(D) of Executive Order No. 138 addresses day camps and allows for operation if following the NCDHHS guidelines and while maintaining social distancing for sports and other activities. NCDHHS guidelines may be accessed at : https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/NC-Interim-Guidance-for-Day-Camp-Settings.pdf.

This Executive Order states that swimming pools may open for the purpose of the day camp, but must otherwise remain closed to the general public. If a swimming pool is to be used by the day camp, it must have a valid seasonal or annual permit to operate prior to opening for the camp. To avoid miscommunication, we recommend adding a statement to the swimming pool operation permit advising that, “issuance of a permit by this department does not negate requirements by Executive Order No. 120 and No. 138, or subsequent Orders in effect.” Please note that overnight camps may not operate in Phase 1.

Executive Order No. 138 is effective at 5 p.m. on May 8, 2020. Enforcement of the provisions in this Order are under state and local law enforcement. Local health departments are not responsible for oversight of these provisions and must not take permit action based on the Order. Alleged violations should be reported to local law enforcement.

For more information, visit the FAQs from Gov. Cooper’s office or read the executive order on the lifting of restrictions.

FAQs-for-Phase-1-EO-FINAL
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NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Highlights of Phase 1

On May 5th, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 begins on Friday, May 8 at 5:00 pm.

 

Highlights of Phase 1 include:

 

  • Any retail business may open at 50 percent capacity. Businesses will be required to practice social distancing, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, screen workers for symptoms and more.
  • People may leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open.
  • Certain businesses remain closed, including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-through, take-out and delivery.
  • Teleworking is still encouraged for businesses that can practice it.
  • Cloth face coverings are recommended when you leave the house and may be near other people who are not family or household members.

 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) created several materials to help businesses navigate Phase 1, including:

 

  • NCDHHS Checklist for Business Owners
  • Interim Guidance for Owners, Staff, and Patrons of Businesses
  • Symptom Screening Checklist
  • Templates to Meet Required Signage

 

DHHS also previewed a new campaign, Know Your Ws! While North Carolinians should still stay home, if they go out, they should know their Ws: Wear. Wait. Wash.

 

  • Wear a face covering,
  • Wait 6 feet apart from other people.
  • Wash your hands often and

 

A Know Your Ws flyer is available in English and Spanish. More materials will be coming.

 

Executive Order 138

FAQ about the Executive Order

Presentation from May 5th Press Announcement

Fact Sheet on What’s New in Phase One

FAQ on Cloth Face Coverings

Business Materials

Gov. Cooper announces modified Stay at Home Order and transitions to Phase 1 of easing restrictions

New order takes effect Friday, May 8 at 5 pm

Personal care businesses, entertainment venues, gyms to remain closed

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions effective Friday, May 8 at 5 pm. Certain businesses remain closed as the state continues battling COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still a serious threat to our state, and Phase 1 is designed to be a limited easing of restrictions that can boost parts of our economy while keeping important safety rules in place,” said Governor Cooper. “This is a careful and deliberate first step, guided by the data, and North Carolinians still must use caution while this virus is circulating.”

“We must continue to protect our families and neighbors as we take this cautious step forward. When you leave your home, follow the three W’s: Wear a face covering, wash your hands, and wait six feet apart,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Today’s Order removes the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. Retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity and will be required to direct customers to stand 6 feet apart, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, screen workers for symptoms and more. The Order allows people to leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open.

Certain businesses remain closed, including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-through, take out and delivery.

All workers at retail and other businesses are recommended to wear cloth face coverings. Teleworking is still encouraged for businesses that can practice it.
Though small outdoor gatherings will be allowed in Phase 1, gatherings of more than 10 people generally are still prohibited. The Order encourages cloth face coverings to be worn when outside the home and in contact with others. Everyone who uses a face covering should adhere to this guidance without fear of profiling or bias.

During Phase 1, childcare facilities will be open to serve families of parents who are working or looking for work. These centers will be required to follow strict cleaning protocols. Summer day camps can operate in compliance with NC DHHS guidelines.

In explaining today’s Order, Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen reported North Carolina remains stable on the following key metrics:
Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is decreasing.
Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days cases is slightly increasing.
Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over the last 14 days is decreasing.
Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations over the last 14 days is level.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:
Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina has doubled the daily testing rate.
Tracing Capability
• The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has received over 4,000 applications and is in the process of hiring 250 new contact tracers.
Personal Protective Equipment
• Supply chains continue to improve with the exception of gowns.

The order is in effect until 5 pm on Friday, May 22. However, the end of this Order does not necessarily mean the state will move to Phase 2. Phase 2 will only start if data and indicators are in the right place.

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Read a copy of today’s graphs and slides.

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