Coronavirus Update

Update: COVID-19

Dobson, NC—03/13/2020— As of March 13, 2020, there are 15 case of COVID-19 in North Carolina.  Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Surry County.  Once again, Surry County Health and Nutrition Center would like to reiterate that we are very closely monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are remaining in regular contact with our partners at NC Department of Health and Human Services and Emergency Management.

Surry County Health and Nutrition Center is preparing by educating our community sectors and leaders on appropriate measures to contain and control an outbreak should one occur in Surry County.  There has been guidance given to area individuals and families, hospitals and health care providers, businesses and schools, long term care facilities, and returning travelers to ensure adequate measures are in place to protect our citizens.

Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes. Community-based interventions can also help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.” Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission. We are at a critical inflection point where we may have the opportunity to slow the spread of this epidemic by taking proactive steps now.

The following recommendations pertain to persons statewide.

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.

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.

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

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.

SCHOOLS
We do 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
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.

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), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.

We would like to charge all Surry County residents to prepare for COVID-19 by receiving information directly from reliable sources.  The COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a flood of misinformation from unreliable sources.  Please refer to the following sources for reliable information:

For more information on COVID-19, stay informed with the most reliable information from CDC.gov or NCDHHS.gov.  For general questions about COVID-19, calls may be made to the Poison Control Hotline at 1-866-462-3821.