May 21, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COVID-19 Burke County Media Briefing
Burke County’s Response to COVID-19
• Burke County is currently at 251 positive cases. The cases consist of traveling, congregate living, and community spread. All positive cases are isolated and Public Health staff continues to investigate the cases and will be locating those close contacts to help contain the spread of the infection.
• Numbers noted on the state website may fluctuate during the public health investigations when staff find out that some positive tests are truly not Burke County residents. Numbers listed above are correct numbers for Burke County.
• Public information line has been opened Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for those with questions can call 828-764-9388.
Our new normal, practice the 3 W’s: WEAR – a cloth face covering when out in public and in places where you cannot physically distance yourself from others, WAIT – at least six feet from others everywhere you are and WASH – your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water.
Update about testing criteria from the State:
As of Friday, the state has changed the criteria for testing. The new guidelines for testing are below:
• Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
• Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
• Regardless of symptoms, anyone at higher risk of exposure or at a higher risk for severe disease. Such patient populations are:
o Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp, etc.)
o Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions and those with weakened immune systems from other conditions such as receiving cancer treatments, those living with HIV, etc.)
o Persons who come from historically marginalized populations.
o Healthcare workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
o Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
For those who go to get a test are required to self-isolate (stay at home and do not go out for any reason) at home until their test results return which could be 2 to 4 days depending upon the company doing the testing. You will need to also self-isolate from others within your home until your test results come back so you do not spread the virus within your home.
Please remember that as each community across NC increases testing the numbers of positive and negative tests will also increase. That is why it is still very important to follow the recommendations for those at high risk of this infection to stay at home even though more
businesses are going to start opening again after Friday. This infection continues to spread within our community due to people continuing to gather together in large groups in close contact and for longer periods of time. Positive individuals within this community are both symptomatic and asymptomatic. Now is not the time to go to doing activities and spending time as you did before.
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. After hours, weekends and holidays, 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.