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 www.pendercountync.gov 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, www.pendercountync.gov, features a COVID-19 microsite with information.
NC Department of Health and Human Services website https://ww.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
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 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters