For Immediate Release
March 30, 2020
Rebecca McLeod, Public Health Director
Lisa Moore, Burke County Public Information Officer
Michael Willis, Emergency Management Director
Burke County Confirms Five Cases of COVID-19
Morganton, NC: The Burke County Health Director was notified over the weekend of two additional positive cases of COVID-19 which brings the total cases to 5 in Burke County. One case involved did not recently travel or report direct contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19 indicating community spread. Starting today, Burke County will only be reporting the positive cases for Burke County residents. Since residents are getting tested from outside county agencies and other counties are overwhelmed with managing their residents, negative tests are not getting reported.
All these cases are isolated and Public Health staff have begun their investigation with the newest cases and will be locating those close contacts to help contain the spread of the infection. The Burke County Health Department and County Emergency Management will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners. Public health authorities nor any other community partner will identify any individual that tests positive and we will not provide information that may compromise their confidentiality as a matter of their personal safety, so individuals are not targeted, threatened or harassed.
Per the newest State guidance for March 29:
• North Carolina now has widespread community spread of COVID-19 therefore they are moving to a different phase of response efforts and is further increasing the population-based community reduction strategies.
• The goal is to decrease the spread of the virus among the population especially those at highest risk so that fewer people need medical care at the same time.
• In addition, they are implementing strategies to try to save supplies and critical workforce so that health care workers and first responders can care for people with more severe symptoms during the outbreak.
• For those with mild symptoms, treatment is to focus on managing symptoms, stay hydrated and stay at home and isolated away from others as much as possible within the home. A test will not change how mild symptoms are managed.
New control measures starting March 30:
• Residents are encouraged to CALL their medical provider if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but they do not need to come out to be tested since it may spread the illness to others in the community including those at higher risk of complications and health care workers.
• People who are not infected with COVID-19 can become infected when going out to get tested especially at health care sites.
• People in congregate living situations (such as, but not limited to long term care facilities, group homes, jails, etc) who have mild symptoms (fever and cough) consistent with COVID-19 that do not progress to severe symptoms (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, altered thinking and cyanosis), do NOT need testing for COVID-19 and are instructed to stay isolated at home to recover. If symptoms worsen then medical
• Patients who have mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 need to self-isolate at home for
o At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first started
o AND at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath)
• Household members and other close contacts (within 6 feet or less for longer than 10 minutes) of a person with known or suspected COVID-19 should stay at home for 14 days after the last exposure, stay at least 6 feet from others, self-monitor their temperature and symptoms and self-isolate if they develop symptoms
So, the most important messages right now:
• Follow the Governor’s Stay At Home Executive Order for the next 30 days and only be out to pick up essential items and then return home. Call to check in on family and friends.
• Remember while you are at home, it is a good idea to go outside some and get some exercise, play with your children but do not gather with large groups of 10 or more people
• Wash your hands often especially after going to stores, or touching objects or surfaces that others have touched. Wash for 20 seconds and sing a song while you wash. Use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water.
If you have any further questions or need additional information, contact the Burke County Public Information Line at 828-764-9388, Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm and after hours the NC Public Information Line number is provided as a resource to contact. The operator will answer your questions or direct you to the correct person to answer your questions. Or you can also visit the Burke County COVID-19 webpage at www.burkenc.org/COVID-19. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms listed for COVID-19.