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The original item was published from 3/24/2020 4:44:00 PM to 3/25/2021 12:00:03 AM.

News Flash

Coronavirus Updates

Posted on: March 24, 2020

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Burke County Media Briefing


March 23, 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 56 individuals with continual daily testing as testing materials are available
  • Of those 56, 44 results have been received and all tests have returned negative
  • 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

Updates from Raleigh/Governor Cooper:

Governor Cooper’s Newest Executive Order closes the following:

Continues/extends school closures through May 15th

Lowers the number of those in mass gatherings to no more than 50.  Recommended to cancel or postpone events and gatherings if possible.

  • The following facilities are ordered to close at 5 PM on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, though any retail or dining component may operate within that establishment solely for that purpose:

    1. Bingo Parlors
    2. Bowling Alleys
    3. Ice Skating Rinks
    4. Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, and martial arts facilities)
    5. Health Clubs
    6. Indoor Pools
    7. Live Performance Venues
    8. Movie Theaters
    9. Roller skating Rinks
    10. Spas
    11. Sweepstakes Lounges
    12. Video game arcades
  •  Personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to the following, are also ordered to close as Wednesday, March 25:

    1. Barber Shops
    2. Beauty Salons
    3. Hair Salons
    4. Manicure/Pedicure Providers
    5. Massage Parlors
    6. Nail Salons
    7. Tattoo Parlors
  1. Long term care facilities shall restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, for example, an end-of-life situation. For purposes of this Executive Order only, long term care facilities include all the following:

    1. Skilled nursing facilities
    2. Adult care homes
    3. Family care homes
    4. Mental health group homes; and
    5. Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities

 Several businesses, such as hospitals and healthcare facilities, grocery stores, childcare facilities, banks, post offices, libraries will remain open but may have modified access.

Updates from CDC:

High risk category for COVID-19 has been changed.  The high-risk groups include:

  •  Those age 65 (+)
  • Those living in long-term care facilities/nursing homes
  • Those with chronic conditions like lung disease, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, etc.
  • Those with weakened immune systems including those getting cancer treatments
  • Pregnant women need to be closely monitored since they are at risk of getting viral infections
  • Infants to be closely monitored since they are at high risk of getting infections


Update from Burke County Public Schools:

The Burke County Medical Society and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge have teamed up to offer free thermometers to families receiving free meals through Burke County Public Schools. The thermometers will be delivered starting Tuesday, March 24, at the eight BCPS school food distribution sites. The thermometers are intended for any community member who does not currently have a working thermometer in their home.

“One of the symptoms (of the coronavirus) we screen for is temperature,” said Gandhari Loomis, DO, a family physician at Table Rock Family Medicine and president of the Burke County Medical Society. “The definition of fever is a reading of 100.4 degrees or higher when taken under the tongue.” Dr. Loomis said patients often say they have a temperature but when asked for the recorded number, they respond “I don’t know. I don’t have a thermometer. Knowing the specific temperature is imperative for clinicians to be able to make appropriate decisions for patients.”

Thermometers will be available at the Burke County Health Department and distributed to several physician offices, urgent cares, emergency departments, EMS, churches and homeless shelters. Dr. Loomis said the Medical Society approached hospital leaders last week about collaborating on the project. That same day, CHS Blue Ridge placed an order for 4,000 digital thermometers. The Burke County Medical Society is a community-based organization of physicians and PAs who work closely with the NC Medical Society on a variety of healthcare advocacy projects.

BCPS Superintendent Larry Putnam said the school system and community are grateful for the donation of 400 thermometers to our families that need them. He said, “We are filling in the gap and putting meals in thousands of children’s hands each day and now being able to offer families these thermometers too is just another way to make providing the basics needs and focusing on health and safety a priority. This donation from the Burke County Medical Society and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge could not be more appreciated and will most definitely provide for families in need. It is wonderful to see our community rise up and come together during this uncertain time through partnerships like this.”

 Visit for the feeding sites

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