March 17, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COVID-19 Burke County Media Briefing
Burke County’s Response to COVID-19
- To date, there are no positive cases in Burke County
- The health department has tested approximately 24 individuals with continual daily testing
- Of those 24, 11 results have been received and all tests have returned negative
- As of today, Burke County has opened an Emergency Operations Center to unify all efforts throughout the county to help maximize resources and disseminate continual, coordinated information and guidance within the community along with assessing resources needed in the short and long term
- Public information line has been opened Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for those with questions can call 828-764-9388. After hours, general questions can be directed to NC Public Information Line at 1-866-462-3821
To date, this is a short list of what activities have been deployed within the community to assist in serving and protecting the health and safety in Burke County:
Health department began following the Coronavirus news in China
Health department began to receive guidance from NC Department of Public Health since February
Health department held an Epidemiology Team meeting with community partners to brief them on COVID-19 and to discuss planning for future work assignments with regards to COVID-19
Health department receives daily guidance from NC Dept. of Public Health and pushes ALL guidance out to private providers, long term care facilities, faith-based communities, law enforcement, businesses, day care providers, schools, and food service establishments. These are pushed out by email and fax as it is updated from the state.
Health department has been testing based on the State’s criteria (which has changed since this situation started) and the health department staff are also monitoring all those individuals tested as directed by guidance
Health department has worked with Emergency Management from the beginning to assess response planning and mitigation strategies
General information was sent to media for distribution
Burke County government assembled department heads to discuss the most current information regarding COVID-19 and its adverse effects on county services and the continuity of operational services plan moving forward during this event. Department heads offered creative solutions to use within their departments to accommodate social distancing measures
Burke County department heads discussed and will implement recommendations provided by the CDC for employees that become sick along with prevention measures to reduce the spread of infections
Health department has assembled community partners to discuss the Personal Protective Equipment (specifically N-95 shortage) and how to access additional resources
Health department has updated its Isolation and Quarantine Plan and is ready to implement if needed for a person who tests positive and doesn’t comply with the order of control measures.
A COVID-19 information page has been compiled and placed on the health department’s website and will be updated
Today Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge has released additional restrictions to protect those within the hospital and community visiting the hospital
Emergency Operations Center Command staff is working to assure compliance with Governor Cooper’s executive orders in regard to mass gatherings, events, dining closure of restaurants/bars. This guidance is posted on the health department website/COVID-19 page
Burke Senior Center and East Burke Senior Center in Hildebran will be closing effective Thursday, March 19- March 31, 2020 and will evaluate the situation afterward. All changes to operating hours and closings will be posted on their FaceBook pages and website.
Congregate Nutrition site in Valdese will close on Friday, March 22 at noon until further notice. They will provide participants the option to drive by and pick up a meal at the Valdese location beginning Monday, March 23. Home delivered meals will continue to be delivered by volunteers. Any changes will be shared
CB Hildebrand Library location will be closing at 5pm every day this week (March 17-March 20). Staffing will be evaluated, and any further changes will be posted on their FaceBook and website
EMS, Emergency Management, Fire Marshal, Jail staff and the Sheriff’s Office will look and discuss limited options as COVID-19 event moves forward
Below is an example of social distancing from the tape to the window.