COVID-19 mitigation actions spelled out at meeting of local government officials

Published 9:08 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

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Local government officials and staff from Dare County and the municipalities met Friday morning, March 13, 2020, at the Dare County Emergency Operations Center for a briefing from public health and emergency management officials.

Discussions centered around community impacts and necessary actions to be taken following the March 12 announcement from Gov. Roy Cooper outlining seven mitigation measures and recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

As of 4 p.m., Friday, March 13, no individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dare County. North Carolina currently has 14 presumptive positive cases and one confirmed case for a total of 15 in North Carolina.

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Local officials strongly support the state’s proactive response and efforts to limit impacts from COVID-19 to the Dare community.

“Dare County and the municipalities have plans, partnerships and resources in place to support the community. We are working in close coordination with all community stakeholders and the state,” said Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard.

These recommendations are made for the next 30 days and will be re-assessed at that point.

“We thank the local community for their support of all efforts to keep the impact and spread of the disease to our community minimal. The state is taking bold measures to prevent the spread. We understand these guidelines have tremendous impacts throughout the community but now is the time to take action and follow these recommendations to limit potential spread in our community,” said Dare County Public Health Director Sheila Davies. “Now is the time for our community to come together and get ahead of this while we still can. If our community follows these recommendations, it will reduce the number of people impacted and infected in Dare County.”

The seven mitigation measures and recommendations issued March 12 are:

Symptomatic persons. If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. NCDHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.

High risk persons without symptoms. People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

People at high risk include people over 65 years of age, with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes or with weakened immune systems.

Congregate living facilities. NCDHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.

Schools. NCDHHS does not recommend pre-emptive school closure at this time but do recommend that schools and childcare centers cancel or reduce large events and gatherings (e.g., assemblies) and field trips, limit inter-school interactions, and consider distance or e-learning in some settings. Students at high risk should implement individual plans for distance or e-learning. School dismissals may be necessary when staff or student absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a student or staff member.

Workplace. NCDHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible. Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.

Mass gatherings, community and social events. Organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than six feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.

Mass Transit. Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.

In the March 12 recommendations, the state is recommending that employers use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel.

In accordance with state guidelines, effective immediately, Dare County has announced that all work-related out-of-county travel for employees is prohibited.

The state also recommends events that draw more than 100 people to be canceled, postponed, modified or offered online by streaming services.

Effective immediately, all gatherings that are scheduled to be held in county facilities with more than 100 people in attendance are canceled.

Reliable sources for information and recommendations include:

– Dare County Department of Health and Human Services:

– NC Department of Health and Human Services:

– CDC – U.S. and global updates:

Dare County Health and Human Services has released the following video discussing the situation in Dare:




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