North Carolina to begin modified stay at home order to slow COVID-19 spread

Order will require people to stay at home from 10 pm to 5 am with certain businesses required to be closed during those hours

More than 80 percent of NC counties now in the red or orange categories

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021.

“We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”

The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.

In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%.

Governor Cooper was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.

“Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.

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

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

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing.

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

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Testing
• Testing capacity is high, surpassing 50,000 tests per day for much of the past week.

Tracing Capability
• The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
• There have been more than 500,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.

Personal Protective Equipment
• North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order 181.

Read a Frequently Asked Questions document about the Order.

Read the slides from today’s briefing.

Penderlea Volunteer Fire Department Receives 4/9E ISO Rating

Penderlea VFD has received a NCDOI Insurance Rating of a 4/9E.  The fire department along with other fire departments and other agencies where graded on a point scale in September for this final grade. The point system grading system is 10% from Emergency Communications Center. Fire department makes up 50% of the points system. Water supply is 40% and Community Risk Reduction makes up the last 5.5% for a total of 105.5 points.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal comes in and reviews many different things in the different areas of the grading system. After a few months the final score from a Class 1 being the best to a Class 10 having no fire protection coverage is finalized. The Penderlea VFD has been a Class 9 and was the minimum rate fire protection class. In February of next year the new insurance rating will go into effect. The fire insurance premium drop will be for all fire insurance policies that are within the five-mile district of the Penderlea VFD. Anyone living in the five to six-mile area will continue to receive a class 9 E ratings.

“NCDOI will pass this on to the insurance companies,” said Pender County Fire Marshal Tommy Batson.

Anyone unsure about how much of a saving they may see, contact your local insurance agent.

“The hard work of many people and agencies from this will pay off for the homeowners each year in saving the affected response area of Penderlea,” said Batson.

The inspection conducted in September was a review of record keeping, contract agreements, fire response, training, staffing, water haul, water sources, equipment and many other items. The other agencies involved in the inspection besides the volunteers of Penderlea VFD included the Pender County Fire Marshal Office, Pender County GIS, Pender County Sheriff Office E911 Center, Pender County Utilities, Pender EMS & Fire, Burgaw VFD, Wallace VFD, Harrells VFD, Atkinson VFD, Shiloh VFD and Maple Hill VFD.

Following the data, North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3

Gov. Cooper & health officials urge North Carolinians to recommit to prevention efforts

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.

“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Governor Cooper. “Wearing a mask shows you care about people. Wearing a mask is an easy way to protect our communities and look out for each other. Confronting the virus head on and doing our part as individuals is good for our health and good for our economy.”

Also today, Governor Cooper updated on progress with the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since Governor Cooper announced the (HOPE) Program last week, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.

“As the number of applications climbs higher every day, it should make us remember that it’s more than a number. Every one of those applications represents a family having to make impossible choices between basic necessities during a global pandemic,” said Governor Cooper.

Yesterday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen and Secretary of Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks sent a letter to local officials in communities with increased viral spread urging their continued action in fighting COVID-19 and suggesting additional measures to mitigate its spread. Read more about that letter here.

“We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. This simple fact is we can’t do it on our own. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away – just the opposite,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “As hard as this is, it will end. We will get through this. Let’s do it by looking out for one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

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

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

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Laboratory Testing
• Testing capacity is high.

Tracing Capability

• The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.

• There have been almost 250,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.

Personal Protective Equipment
• North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order 170.

Read the slides from today’s briefing.

Hurricane Preparedness drive-thru give-a-way

Pender County– Pender Long Term Recovery Group will host a Hurricane Preparedness Drive-Thru Expo this Saturday, Aug. 22, with two locations – one in Burgaw and another in Hampstead.

The Pender Long Term Recovery Group encourages Pender County citizens to prepare for the hurricane season, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hurricane Preparedness event will be a drive-thru pick-up with two locations within Pender County. Drive-thru locations are Topsail Baptist Church in Hampstead, 18885 US Highway 17 North, from 9 – 11 a.m., and in Burgaw at the Gateway Community Church, 416 W Bridgers St., from 12 – 2 p.m.

“Supplies to be given will include Hurricane Preparedness literature, Partner rebuilding resources, ‘Build Your Own Go Kit’ supplies, buckets, and more. Available while supplies last, one distribution load per car, first 125 cars at each location will receive a box of non-perishable foods for your go kit,” said Green.  “We would like to thank all our sponsors and participating organizations.”

“The Pender LTRG is a long-term recovery group that formed as the result of Hurricane Florence,” states Olivia Dawson, Pender Long Term Recovery Group Co-Chair. “We look forward to serving residents of Pender County assisting with ways to be prepared for the possibility of a next hurricane.”

“We want Pender residents to ‘Be Prepared, Make a Plan, & Stay Connected’,” states Michelle Green, Pender Long Term Recovery Group Project Coordinator. “Since we have to prepare the community a little different this year, we thought we would follow similar groups with a drive-thru process with two locations to serve as many residents as possible.”

The Pender LTRG is composed of non-profits, faith-based organizations, and charitable organizations who work in union to meet the unmet needs of Pender County Residents impacted by disaster. The Pender LTRG works in collaboration with other organizations to assess needs, offer resources, and ensure that residents are assisted.

Visit our Facebook page and website, penderltrg.com, for more information.

Dispose of storm debris responsibly

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the limited geographic impacts from Hurricane Isaias, Pender County is not conducting curbside collection of storm-related debris. Damage assessment has been completed and determined that areas of eastern Pender County sustained the most concentrated damage related to vegetative debris. Despite this damage, the decision to incur the cost related to conducting a countywide debris collection must be based on impact experienced throughout the 900 square miles that exists in Pender County.

“Generally, in the past, this has been a North Carolina Department of Transportation function,” said George Brown, Pender County Board of County Commissioners Chairman. “Pender County has, in the past, participated in county-wide debris collection programs with NCDOT after significant storms such as Hurricane Mathew or Florence which caused devastation throughout the county.”

Ultimately the decision to pick up debris countywide must be evaluated from a financial capacity standpoint. The debris operation conducted by Pender County following Hurricane Florence cost $16,674,666. The majority of this expense has not been reimbursed by FEMA nearly two years after the storm. Put in simplistic terms, the unbudgeted expenses incurred related to debris collection following Florence was roughly equivalent to 25 percent of the total general fund budget for fiscal year 2020 and more than the entire Public Safety and Department of Social Services budget combined.

Brown said Pender County’s decision to not collect curbside debris is similar to decisions by most other counties in the Southeastern North Carolina region.

“We urge residents to dispose of leaves, branches, pine straw responsibly,” said Brown.

A state and locally permitted company, Branch and Brush Debris Depot, located at 21435 US Hwy 17, in Hampstead will accept vegetative debris. For more information regarding cost and operating hours, call Branch and Brush Debris Depot at 910-581-1719.

There is no burning ban in Pender County. The Forestry Service authorizes burning permits and guidelines. The information is available online at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/burn_permits/burn_permits_main.htm. Property owners are encouraged to check with their homeowners and property associations for restrictions of burning debris.

Pender County offices closed; planning board meeting postponed

BURGAW – Due to extensive, countywide power outages, Pender County offices will remain closed all day on Tuesday.

“We hope to restore normal operations on Wednesday,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County Manager.

Due to the impacts of Hurricane Isaias, the regularly scheduled meeting of the Pender County Planning Board, scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hampstead Annex, has been postponed.

Information regarding the rescheduled meeting date will be available in the coming days.

For more information, please call the Pender County Planning and Community Development Department at 910-259-1202.

Recovery safety: Use caution

PENDER COUNTY – With cleanup from Tropical Storm Isaias underway, Pender County EMS and Fire and the Pender County Office of Emergency Management urge residents to use caution.

“This is the time when we receive the most emergency calls,” said Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “We respond to chainsaw accidents, carbon monoxide poisonings from generators, and anaphylactic shock from bee stings and fire ants.”

“Wear protective clothing when working with a chainsaw,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Wear goggles or safety glasses, hard toe shoes and leather gloves.”

Sullivan said never place a running generator inside a home or garage.

“This results in carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Sullivan. “Always read the manual before operating a chainsaw or a generator.”

Fire ants are a hazard after flooding. The ants form a mound to protect the queen. The ant mounds float on the water. Fire ants bite, causing a fierce reaction or apoplectic shock. Bees too are stirred by storms and flooding.

“Fire ants and bee stings can send people into anaphylactic shock,” said Smith.

“Be mindful of the equipment used in clean-up,” said Smith. “And be mindful of insects. Wear insect repellant with DEET.”

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Tropical Storm Isaias debris options

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the anticipated limited impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, Pender County is not planning on conducting curbside collection of storm-related debris.

“Residents have several options for collection of branches, tree limbs, and vegetative debris from Tropical Storm Isaias,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County manager.

There is no burning ban in Pender County. The Forestry Service authorizes burning permits and guidelines. The information is available online at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/burn_permits_main.htm.

Property owners are encouraged to check with their homeowners and property associations for restrictions of burning debris.

Fire officials recommend that anyone burning have resources immediately available to control their fire. Those resources include water hoses, buckets of water, and hand tools. Should a fire become out of control, individuals need to contact the local fire department for assistance immediately by dialing 911.

There is one state and locally permitted vegetative debris company, Branch and Brush Debris Depot, located at 21435 US Hwy 17, in Hampstead. Their phone number is 910-581-1719.

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