Phase 1 b, Group 1 vaccinations are underway in Pender County

BURGAW – COVID-19 vaccinations are underway at the Pender County Health Department. Phase 1 A, which includes county health care providers, and Group 1 B, residents 75 years of age and older regardless of health conditions, are the first to be eligible for the vaccine. The Pender County Health Department will adhere to guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and North Carolina Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) roll-out guidelines.

“Vaccinations are scheduled for Tuesdays in Burgaw and Thursdays at the Hampstead Annex – as long as we have supplies of the vaccine,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director.

  • All eligible residents MUST make an appointment to ensure vaccine is available.
  • The health department can’t accept walk-ins at this time.
  • All residents eligible for Phase 1 b, Group 1, should call 910-259-1230.

“Our phone lines have been extremely busy since the vaccine arrived,” said Moser. “We urge patience and please continue to call 910-259-1230 for an appointment.”

Moser said Pender County will remain in Phase 1 b, Group 1 until all eligible residents who want the vaccine receive it.

To see a detailed description of each Phase of the vaccination roll-out go to https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/vaccines/NCDHHS-Vaccine-Infographic.pdf or the county website at www.pendercountync.gov and click on Vaccination Roll-out Plan on the homepage.

 

Request for Information #210104-119 Physical Security Refresh

Pender County is seeking information regarding a new, Cloud-based, Physical Security system. This will include Door Access Control and Video Surveillance. The County is seeking a unified system that allows the Door Access Control system and Video Surveillance to interact and be managed as one single system.

The County’s current system is comprised of one door access control system and multiple NVR’s. County ITS faces many challenges while managing this equipment. The Door Access Control management software is old and no longer developed. Managing multiple NVRs is cumbersome and, in most cases, the interface is poorly written and difficult to work with. In addition, the equipment is on-premise, requiring staff to connect via VPN to access to manage the systems and view video footage.

The County intends to pursue a phased-in approach, in which sites will be added onto the new system over a 5-year period. This will allow the County to forecast costs for future fiscal year planning. The County intends to begin with the Administrative Building and Miller’s Pond Park in Year 1. The County would like to use as much existing hardware as possible to maximize its investment.

This Request for Information (RFI) is intended to collect information and recommendations regarding a Cloud-Hosted Unified Physical Security System. Click here to view the full RFI.  Reponses are due January 26, 2021 by 2:00.  Respondents will be invited to present their submissions via a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Request for Information #210104-121 Cloud-Based Electronic Fax

Pender County is seeking information on a cloud-based e-faxing solution to replace its on-premise e-fax solution. The County currently uses OpenText Right-Fax as its faxing solution. The County currently seeks to move to a cloud-based VoIP solution and would like to move fax service to the cloud prior to the start of this project. The County wishes to move from a Capital Expense model to an Operating Expense model for its E-Faxing; receiving a monthly bill, rather than costly expenses to maintain an on-premise system.

The current system limits County staff to fax communication within the internal network and provides for no redundancy. The County wishes to migrate to a cloud-hosted system that permits employees to log in anywhere, on or off the company network, and send/receive faxes without administrative intervention. In addition, a cloud-based system will allow for continuity of operations should the County be left without operating data centers after the wake of a natural or other disaster.

This Request for Information (RFI) is intended to collect information and recommendations regarding a Cloud-Hosted E-Fax solution.  Click her to view the full RFI. Reponses are due January 26, 2021 by 2:00.  Respondents will be invited to present their submissions via a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Request for Information # 210104-120 Unified Communications as a Service

Pender County is seeking information regarding replacement of our current, on-premise, Cisco Voice over IP (VoIP) system (the system) with a Cloud-Hosted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution. The County wishes to move from a Capital Expense model to an Operating Expense model for its Unified Communications; receiving a monthly bill, per user and/or device, rather than costly expenses to maintain an on-premise system.

The current system limits County staff to communication within the internal network and provides for little redundancy. The County wishes to migrate to a cloud-hosted system that permits employees to log in anywhere on or off the company network (VoIP Handset, mobile phone or computer) and automatically receive calls without administrative intervention. In addition, a cloud-based system will allow for continuity of operations should the County be left without operating data centers after the wake of a natural or other disaster.

This Request for Information (RFI) is intended to collect information and recommendations regarding a Cloud-Hosted Unified Communications as a Service solution.  Click here to view the full RFI. Reponses are due January 26, 2021 by 2:00.  Respondents will be invited to present their submissions via a Microsoft Teams meeting.

PCU offers contactless service

As of today, Pender County Utilities (PCU) is limiting public access to their offices due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic.  PCU can serve you online, at our drive-thru window, or by phone at 910-259-1570.

Payments can be made:

  • Online at pendercountync.gov under “I Want To…”
  • Payment drop boxes at Burgaw office (next to drive-thru window) and at Hampstead Annex (15060 US 17 in white “mailbox” in front parking lot)
  • By phone at 910-259-1570 with credit card
  • Drive-thru window at Burgaw office

New service applications may be completed online but must be notarized prior to submittal.

If you have business that cannot be done through the methods listed above, please call us to discuss alternate methods.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

NCDHHS shares updated rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccinations

NCDHHS-Vaccine-Infographic

RALEIGH— The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced it had updated its vaccination plan to align with new federal recommendations issued last week. The changes simplify the vaccine process and continue the state’s commitment to first protect health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying, and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“While there is still much to do, we head into 2021 with a powerful tool to stop this pandemic– vaccines,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “However, because supplies are very limited, it’s going to be several months before vaccines are widely available to everyone. Until most people are vaccinated, everyone needs to continue to wear a mask, wait six feet apart, and wash their hands.”

Because vaccine supplies are currently limited, states must make vaccine available in phases. On December 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released updated interim vaccine prioritization recommendations for the next phases of vaccinations. North Carolina’s updated plan is outlined below.

Current Phase– Phase 1a: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 and long-term care staff and residents.
• Hospitals and local health departments are vaccinating health care workers caring for and working directly with patients with COVID-19 and those giving vaccines. In addition, the federal government is vaccinating long-term care residents and staff.
Phase 1b: Adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers.
The next phase of vaccinations will open in groups.
• Group 1: Anyone 75 years or older regardless of medical condition or living situation. People do not have to have a chronic health condition.
• Group 2: Health care and frontline essential workers who are 50 years of age or older.
• Group 3: Frontline workers of any age and health care workers of any age, regardless of whether they work directly with COVID-19 patients. This phase is anticipated to begin in early January.

The CDC defines frontline essential workers as first responders (firefighters, police), education (child care, teachers, support staff), manufacturing, corrections officers, public transit, grocery store, food and agriculture, and US postal workers.

Phase 2: Adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness.
In this phase, vaccinations will also open in groups.
• Group 1: Anyone ages 65-74 years regardless of medical condition or living situation.
• Group 2: Anyone 16-64 years with a medical condition that increases risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
• Group 3: Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who has not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function.
• Group 4: Essential workers as defined by the CDC who have not yet been vaccinated.

Phase 3: Students.
• College, university and high school students 16 or older.
• Younger children will only be vaccinated when the vaccine is approved for them.

Phase 4: Finally, anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one.

All vaccine providers are expected to ensure that vaccine is administered equitably within each group.

NCDHHS has a specific focus on building trust with historically marginalized populations. Longstanding and continuing racial and ethnic injustices in our health care system contribute to lack of trust in vaccines. The department is partnering with trusted leaders and organizations to provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines to all North Carolinians and ensure equitable access to vaccines.

More information is available at yourspotyourshot.nc.gov, including:
• Infographic of Vaccine Phases
Deeper Dive: Phase 1a
Deeper Dive: Phase1b

Governor extends North Carolina evictions moratorium

RALEIGH: Today, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 184, extending North Carolina’s evictions moratorium through January 31, 2021. Research shows that eviction moratoriums help prevent the spread of COVID-19. States that let their eviction moratoriums lapse saw a COVID-19 incidence rate that was 1.6 times higher than states that kept a moratorium in place.

“Too many families are living on the edge, trying to do the right thing, but left with impossible choices. This Order will help them stay in their homes, which is essential to slowing the spread of the virus,” Governor Cooper said.

E.O. 184 clarifies and expands the federal eviction moratorium, which was extended by Congress until January 31, 2021. With many people struggling financially due to this pandemic, this Order halts evictions for nonpayment of rent.

In North Carolina, an estimated 485,000 adults in rental housing reported that they are not caught up on rent and nearly three million adults reported difficulty in covering usual household expenses, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This order also extends protections for individuals applying for assistance through the state’s Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program. This program assists North Carolinians facing financial hardship by providing rent and utility payments directly to landlords and utility companies. Over 21,000 renters have been notified that they will receive rent or utility payment help and award notices totaling $37.4 million have been issued as the HOPE Program continues to provide more assistance to its applicants.

Today’s Order received approval from the Council of State.

Governor Cooper also underscored the importance of doubling down on prevention efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. North Carolina has seen record-high rates of hospitalizations and percent of COVID-19 tests returning positive in the last week. The state is also under a Modified Stay at Home Order until at least January 8, 2021, which requires people to be home between the hours of 10 pm – 5 am.

Read Executive Order 184.

Read a Frequently Asked Questions document about the evictions moratorium.

 

January Planning Board Meeting Rescheduled

BURGAW – The Pender County Planning Board, which was scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 5, starting at 7 p.m., has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m.

The meeting will take place in the Pender County Board of Commissioners’ Chambers at 805 S. Walker St. in Burgaw.

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

Safer New Year’s Celebrations with Friends and Family

Staying home and celebrating with the people you live with or celebrating virtually with loved ones is the safest choice this year. Do not attend large gatherings this year. If you do host or attend a small gathering, everyone can take steps to make celebrating the New Year safer.

If you host a celebration

  • Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.

If you attend a celebration

A person is shown wearing a mask and carrying a basket filled with food and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best for you.
  • If traveling for a celebration, know what to do before, during, and after travel.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, and disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that can alter judgement and make it difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Avoid shouting and singing.
  • Avoid areas where food is prepared, such as the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like condiment packets.

Consider Other Activities to Celebrate New Year’s

Have virtual celebrations with loved ones

A family is shown talking to loved ones by using their computer and virtual meeting technology.
  • Attend a virtual concert or performance.
  • Plan a virtual countdown to midnight with friends.
  • Enjoy a virtual dinner or dessert with friends and family.

Plan a New Year’s party for the people you live with

A family is shown indoors, holding presents, with a laptop in front of them. They are talking to other individuals who are shown on the laptop screen.
  • Decorate, play music, and have a dance party with the people you live with.
  • Have a pajama party and watch your favorite movies or play games.
  • Plan a special meal or dessert with your family.

Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors

An urban neighborhood of apartment buildings and condominums is shown. People are standing at their windows and cheering together at midnight to ring in the new year.
  • Call, text, or leave a voicemail for family, friends, and neighbors wishing them a happy new year.
  • Call friends and family to count down to the new year together.
  • Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight. People who live with each other can stand in front of their house and cheer together at midnight.

Other ideas

A family is shown playing a game in their home.
  • Watch a livestreamed firework display, concert, First Night event, or other New Year’s programming from your home, such as the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop. Virtual events are happening across the United States.
  • Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a walk.
  • Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household.
  • Plan an outdoor activity with people you live with such as a hike or sledding.
  • Set new year resolutions. Find out if your hometown is sponsoring a special social media event and share your resolutions.

Everyone can make New Year’s Eve celebrations safer

If you are celebrating the New Year with people outside your household, make sure you follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and yourself.
  • Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
  • In cold weather, wear your mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava.
  • Keep a spare mask in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath or from snow or rain. Stay at least 6 feet apart
  • Stay 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

Indoors or outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

It is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick to stay 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people.

Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces

  • The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
  • Avoid gatherings and celebrations with a lot of people that make staying 6 feet apart from those who don’t live with you difficult.
  • Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, especially ones that aren’t well ventilated.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating.

  • Make sure to dry your hands completely using a clean towel or by air drying.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home if you are sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Isolate yourself from other members of your family and wear a mask.
  • Even if you don’t feel sick, you can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Get a flu shot as soon as possible

The flu shot can help protect you and your family, friends, and community from getting and spreading flu.

  • By getting a flu shot, you can also help lower hospital visits and serious health problems from flu.

COVID-19 vaccines
While it is possible that some people may receive COVID-19 vaccines before New Year’s Eve, continue taking steps to protect yourself and others for some time to come.

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