Vance County reports 1st COVID-19 case

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HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Vance County officials announced Sunday evening the first infection of COVID-19 in the county.

The person who tested positive is now isolated at home, according to a news release from Vance County Emergency Operations.

County officials said the “health department is conducting contact tracing to determine the level of exposure to others.”

The new case in Vance County brings the North Carolina total to at least 260 after Wake County reported three new cases and Durham had one new case Sunday.

“This was anticipated and presently does not constitute any changes to our current response posture or our recommendations,” Brian K. Short, Director Vance County Emergency Operations, said in the news release.

Short said that calls into the 911 center “have not shown a significant increase as of now.”

“The 911 Telecommunicators are asking additional Coronavirus screening questions on all medical-related calls and will continue to do so until it is no longer needed,” Short said.

Officials addressed the grocery shopping patterns that have seen some items sell-out quickly.

“We continue to encourage our citizens as they shop for groceries and other related items to please shop smart,” Short said. “That means using good shopping practices and buying only what you need for yourself and your family.”

Here is the full news release from Brian K. Short, Director Vance County Emergency Operations:

March 22, 2020 – 19:00

Today, we had our first instance of an individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus in Vance County. The individual is being isolated at home and our local health department is conducting contact tracing to determine the level of exposure to others. This was anticipated and presently does not constitute any changes to our current response posture or our recommendations to the general public.

As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase throughout the state, nation and in fact the world, we continue to coordinate with Public Health agencies, Maria Parham Health, Department of Social Services, State Emergency Management and our local emergency services response partners.

Testing is ongoing through both Maria Parham Health and our local Health Department. There are currently 255 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in North Carolina and thus far thankfully 0 deaths. Please visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus statistics page at the following link to stay current on the number of cases in our state: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc

Personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to be very scarce as global competition for the same supplies is occurring. Responders and health care providers are being encouraged to reuse PPE, in particular masks as often as possible to ensure that we hold on to our supplies for as long as possible. Once they run out, they could be out for an extended period of time.

We continue to submit requests for PPE and related resources to State EM as they are received and so far all of our requests have been filled or are in the process of being filled as supplies become available.

Vance County and the City of Henderson continue to be under a local State of Emergency. This was a precautionary but necessary decision. Being under a local state of emergency allows to implement certain emergency protective measures if and when they should become necessary.

The Emergency Operations Center is currently not activated, however our Emergency Management staff is remotely monitoring the situation across the country and at home on a continuous basis.

Calls into the Vance County 911 Communications Center have not shown a significant increase as of now, however we are poised to up staff should it become necessary. The 911 Telecommunicators are asking additional Coronavirus screening questions on all medical related calls and will continue to do so until it is no longer needed.

We ask that citizens please DO NOT call 911 to ask general questions about the Coronavirus. 211 has established a hotline for this purpose and we ask that our citizens contact their local physician or take advantage of the hotline if they have medical related questions. There is also a toll free Coronavirus hotline manned by trained individuals that can answer questions that you may have. The number is 888-892-1162. You may also visit the NC Department of Health an Human Services website at the following link: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/…/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-…

Our Backup 911 center remains prepped and ready to be occupied if needed. This is purely as a precaution.

Both the Henderson Police Department and Vance County Sheriffs Office are now responding to non-emergency calls via telephone but are still responding as they always have to emergency calls.

We continue to encourage our citizens as they shop for groceries and other related items to please shop smart. Our local convenience stores and grocery stores and working hard to restock their shelves and for the most part, items are available for them to do so, however we have to allow them to do that. That means using good shopping practices and buying only what you need for yourself and your family.

We are strongly encouraging our citizens to continue to observe the social distancing parameters being order by the Governor and suggested by our local and state public health agencies. If you need to go to work, the grocery store, pharmacy or other necessary trip, please do so but we are encouraging everyone to stay home as much as they possibly can. In particular those individuals that are already at risk due to age or other medical conditions.

Many of our local restaurants have been very creative about continuing to provide their services to our citizens whether it be keeping their drive through services open, offering online ordering or curbside services and this is greatly appreciated.

Our office will continue to monitor this event very closely and will continue to issue informational releases as the situation develops.

Everyone continue to stay safe

Brian K. Short, Director
Vance County Emergency Operations

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