ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (March 13, 2020) — In response to the recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Office, local officials encourage organizations, businesses, and citizens to exercise caution to help contain the spread of the virus.
This afternoon (March 13), President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency to free up funding and resources to help slow the outbreak.
In Alexander County, recreation and travel games and practices at all county parks have been postponed through April 1. County staff will reexamine the situation as the April 1st date nears. The Parks & Recreation Department appreciates your understanding as the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens is the top priority.
The previously-announced March 25th screening of the documentary “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” in Alexander County has been postponed. When restrictions are lifted, the event will be rescheduled.
COVID-19 is a new infection that is particularly severe in older persons and those with medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and weakened immune systems.
At this time there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent it. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like:
• frequent hand washing
• staying home when sick
• covering coughs and sneezes
• social distancing
NC DHHS is making the following recommendations to reduce the spread of infection while still in an early stage in order to protect lives and avoid strain on the health care system. NC DHHS is making these recommendations for the next 30 days and will reassess at that point.
The following recommendations pertain to persons statewide.
1. 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. NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, and include:
• Shortness of breath
COVID-19 typically causes mild to moderate respiratory illness. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, although there have been reports of severe illness with a small percentage resulting in death. Respiratory symptoms alone are not an indicator for COVID-19.
2. HIGH RISK PERSONS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS
NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. Those at high risk include:
• Those over 65 years of age
• Those with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
• Those with weakened immune systems
3. CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES
NC DHHS 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.
NC DHHS does not recommend pre-emptive school closure at this time but does 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.
NC DHHS 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.
6. MASS GATHERINGS, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL EVENTS
NC DHHS recommends that 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 6 feet), such as concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events, and other large gatherings.
7. MASS TRANSIT
Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently-touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.
Here are links to some helpful resources to keep you informed and safe:
• NC Department of Health and Human Services: www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus
• Vaya Health: www.vayahealth.com/coronavirus-updates/
• Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html