Pender County monitors area fuel emergency, issues a state of emergency

BURGAW- Pender County officials are closely monitoring the fuel emergency, the result of a cyber-attack on Colonial Pipeline late last week.

“Pender County will ensure the continuity of local government operations,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “The fuel disruption may extend through this week, according to our communications with state officials. We have issued a state of emergency and we are proactively addressing county staffing to ensure the safety of Pender County residents.”

“Analysts say it will take days for normal conditions to return,” said Brown. “Experts advise motorists not to panic purchase or hoard fuel as that will prolong shortages and spikes, making the situation worse. Motorists are asked to purchase only what fuel is immediately needed and to avoid fill the tank until the pipeline resumes operations.”

“As of 5 pm today, county leadership has implemented a plan to ensure that all emergency and essential employees are able to commute to and from work to serve the County residents, “said Chad McEwen, Pender County Manager.  “We are confident this plan will provide for continuity of all emergency departments, including DSS, Health, Utilities, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office.”

On May 11, Governor Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency Executive Order 213. Included in this order is a statute regarding gas price gouging. Residents who witness price gouging should contact the North Carolina Department of Justice.

 

Gov. Cooper proclaims Hurricane Preparedness Week

Urges North Carolinians to update emergency plans and kits and to Know Your Zone

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has declared May 9-15 as Hurricane Preparedness Week, joining the national effort to make people more aware of the dangers of hurricanes and encouraging all North Carolinians to prepare for tropical weather. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

“All North Carolinians should take this time to prepare for the possible impacts of a hurricane or other severe weather by updating their family emergency plans and supply kits,” Governor Cooper said. “Having a plan and supplies will help you to survive through a hurricane and to recover faster should one adversely affect your home.”

Severe tropical weather is common in North Carolina. The state is currently recovering from the devastating effects of multiple large storms including Hurricane Isaias and the remnants of Hurricane Eta in 2020; Hurricane Dorian in 2019; Hurricane Florence as well as Tropical Storms Michael and Alberto in 2018; and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“There are things everyone can do to prepare for severe weather long before it hits, such as having flood insurance and knowing if you live in a coastal evacuation zone,” said Mike Sprayberry, Executive Director of NC Emergency Management and the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

Twenty North Carolina coastal counties have established pre-determined evacuation zones, based on the threats of storm surge and river flooding. Residents can find out if they live in one of these zones by visiting KnowYourZone.nc.gov. Residents should learn their zone and watch or listen for it if evacuations are ordered before or after a storm.

“I also encourage everyone to lookout for one another, especially for those who may be more vulnerable such as the elderly,” said Sprayberry. “It is easier get through a disaster by helping your friends and neighbors and working together.”

By practicing an emergency plan periodically, everyone will be comfortable with his or her role in the plan. The plan should also include details on a meeting place and family phone numbers. Be sure to write down your plan and gather important documents, such as copy of driver’s license, insurance policies, medical records, and prescriptions, and put them somewhere you can quickly access in case of emergency.

Make sure to review and update homeowners or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they are current and include adequate coverage for your current situation.

Having an emergency kit allows people to survive independently if no other resources are available. Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include:
• First-aid kit
• Weather radio and batteries
• Prescription medicines
• Sleeping bag or blankets
• Changes of clothes
• Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
• Cash
• Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
• Face masks and hand-sanitizer

Residents should pay attention to weather and evacuation information on the local media stations and have a battery-powered radio in case there is a power outage. If asked to evacuate, residents should promptly follow evacuation instructions.

To help mitigate damage to your home from severe weather, people can take common-sense measures such as trimming trees, covering windows, securing loose outdoor items before severe weather strikes.
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness is online at ReadyNC.org. Read the Governor’s proclamation here.

COVID vaccinations available

Pender County Health Department is offering the Moderna vaccine on Tuesdays in Burgaw and Thursdays at the Hampstead annex. Appointments are available online at pendercountync.gov or you can walk in starting at 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A snapshot of guidance from Executive Order 209

Here is a synopsis of  guidance from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in Executive Order 209

  • Mass Gathering Limits are set at no more than 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors. · In publicly accessible indoor facilities, the Mass Gathering limit applies per room of the facility.
  • Mass Gathering limits include a requirement of social distancing, defined as – maintaining a minimum of 6-feet between individuals who are not members of the same family. Wearing of Masks and Social Distancing
  • Wear a Face Covering over the nose and mouth inside all public settings such as grocery stores, pharmacies, or other retail or public-serving businesses.
  • Although not required, people who have not been fully vaccinated should wear a Face Covering outdoors when they cannot maintain at least six (6) feet of social distancing from non-household members.
  • All individuals should wear Face Coverings outdoors in crowded, dense, and higher-risk settings.
  • Maintain at least six (6) feet social distancing from other individuals, with the exception of family or household members. Meeting Facilities and Conference Centers
  • The facility must limit Guests to fifty percent (50%) of the stated fire capacity for each indoor and outdoor space controlled by the facility. For rooms or spaces without a stated fire capacity, the limit on Guests is twelve (12) per one thousand (1000) square feet, rounded up.
  • Social Distancing Required. The facility must limit the number of Guests in the space so that groups can stay six (6) feet apart. Livestock Shows (Under guidance provided in EO-209 for Arenas)
  • Guests must be in seats except to enter, leave, use amenities, visit the restroom, and obtain food or drink.
  • The facility must limit Guests to fifty percent (50%) of the stated fire capacity for each indoor and outdoor space controlled by the facility. For rooms or spaces without a stated fire capacity, the limit on Guests is twelve (12) per one thousand (1000) square feet, rounded up.
  • Social Distancing Required. The facility must limit the number of Guests in the space so that groups can stay six (6) feet apart. Livestock Sales (Under guidance provided in EO-209 for Retail events)
  • Occupancy is limited to 100% of Stated Fire Capacity.
  • For spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twenty-four (24) Guests for every one thousand (1000) square feet of 16 the location’s total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to Guests).
  • Limit the number of Guests in the store so that everyone can stay six (6) feet apart.

Previous guidance on facility cleaning, documentation of participation for contact tracing, and quarantine of sick individuals continue to be in effect, until further notice. The requirement, that all participants/spectators should have a temperature check prior to entry of the program/event facility, is no longer in effect. In addition, pre-entry/registration for events is no longer a requirement.

Gov. Cooper issues Executive Order to relax the state’s outdoor mask mandate and ease mass gathering limits

State continues to strive to get two thirds of adults at least partially vaccinated

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress. As the state’s metrics and key indicators remain stable, Governor Cooper also signed an Executive Order outlining safety measures for the month of May. Executive Order No. 209 will take effect April 30 and is set to expire June 1. As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1.

“While our numbers are mostly stable, we have more work to do to beat back this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “Let’s work hard in May and get as many people vaccinated as we can before summer gets here.”

Under the new Executive Order, masks will still be required indoors but are no longer mandated outdoors. Masks are still strongly recommended outdoors by NC DHHS in crowded areas and higher risk settings where social distancing is difficult.

Executive Order No. 209 will also increase mass gathering capacity limits. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 50 to 100 and the number of people who may gather outdoors will increase from 100 to 200. Occupancy limits currently in place will remain the same.

“Fortunately, we now have enough vaccine for everyone. They are free and widely available across the state. In many places you don’t need appointment,” said Secretary Cohen. “For those who have questions, I encourage you to go to YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov to learn about the benefits of the vaccines, potential temporary reactions you might experience, and answers to common questions.”

North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7 million doses. 48.7% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 39.2% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.

State health officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.

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 level.

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

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

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

In addition to monitoring these metrics, the state continues to respond to virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Read Executive Order No. 209.

Read Frequently Asked Questions.

View the slides from today’s briefing.

 

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone

PENDER COUNTY – The Pender County Health Department currently has COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Appointments are available at two convenient locations – the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St., Burgaw, or the Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy. 17.

Pender County Health Department administers the Moderna vaccine which is available to everyone 18 years and older.

You may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

If registering online, the Pender County website is best viewed in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox and NOT Internet Explorer.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

 

Water quality swimming advisory issued for ocean-side Catherine Avenue access

MOREHEAD CITY – An advisory against swimming was posted today at an ocean-side site in Pender County, where state officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.

The advisory is for the public beach access #1A located across from Catherine Avenue in Topsail Beach. Test results of water samples taken on April 12 and April 13 indicate bacteria levels that exceed the state and federal action levels of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier 1 daily use sites. Swimming areas are classified based on recreational use and are referred to as tiers.

NC Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at the ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws. Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness, scientific studies show that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the action level have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Topsail Beach area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign. The sign posted reads as follows:

ATTENTION
SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES
LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN.
OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR

State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.

State recreational water quality officials sample 213 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis, from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when the waters are colder.

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit the program’s website , view a map of the testing sites, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.

Joint CDC and FDA statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

The following statement is attributed to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the federal government, and we take all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination very seriously. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

CDC and FDA will provide additional information and answer questions later today at a media briefing. A recording of that media call will be available on the FDA’s YouTube channel.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments available online or by phone NOW for Tuesday, April 13 in Burgaw

PENDER COUNTY – COVID-19 vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for Tuesday, April 13, at the Pender County Health Department, 803 S. Walker St., Burgaw.

The Moderna vaccination appointments are available to Group 4 which includes anyone 18-64 years old.

Groups 1-4 may schedule an appointment online on the county’s website, pendercountync.gov, and click on the red banner across the screen.

If registering online, the Pender County website is best viewed in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox and NOT Internet Explorer.

Citizens without the ability to make an appointment online can call 910-663-4200 for assistance.

If citizens miss this opportunity to be vaccinated, continue to monitor the county’s website, Pender County’s Facebook page, and the local news for future vaccine appointments.

North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens for all adults on April 7

Pender County is currently serving everyone ages 18 and older

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress as tomorrow also marks the opening of vaccine eligibility for Group 5. This means anyone 16 years and older who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination is eligible to get one.

“We remain focused on getting people vaccinated as quickly and as equitably as possible and continuing to slow the spread of the virus,” said Governor Cooper. “The more people we vaccinate, the more we can safely do.”
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 5.2 million doses. 39 percent of those 18 and up is at least partially vaccinated, and 26 percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.

“These tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us get back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love – like safely hugging a grandmother, traveling to see vaccinated family or friends, or having a potluck dinner with your vaccinated neighbors,” said Secretary Cohen.

State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and practice safety precautions, including the

Three Ws—wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash hands often.

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 decreasing.

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

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is 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 adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

View the slides from today’s briefing.

 

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