Coronavirus still maintaining its social distance from Person County


There are still no cases of the coronavirus in Person County as of Tuesday afternoon, but the virus is making its effect felt all over the county.
As of Tuesday morning, North Carolina has 398 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, but no cases in Person County according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services county-by-county breakdown and confirmed by county Health Director Janet Clayton.
Clayton said reporting requirements do not require the Health Department to be notified of s completed test, only positive results.
Clayton said those with mild symptoms do not need to be tested and should stay home and recover. Mild symptoms are defined as fever and cough without any of the following: shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, altered thinking and cyanosis.
Clinicians have received guidance from NCDHHS to prioritize testing patients with more severe respiratory symptoms, patients for whom clinical management would be different if they were infected with COVID-19, patients in high risk settings and healthcare workers and first responders.
The rationale for the updated testing recommendations is that those who are infected and come out to be tested may spread the illness to others in the community, those at higher risk of complications and healthcare workers and people who are not infected can become so when seeking testing, especially at healthcare sites.
For those with mild symptoms, treatment is supportive and focused on symptoms management.
The state has seen an increase of about 56 new cases reported per day since Wednesday, March 18 when the state had 63 confirmed cases.
Of Person County’s neighbors, Granville County still only has one confirmed case, Orange County has 11 cases and Durham County has 63 cases of COVID-19.
In a Tuesday update, the Centers for Disease Control reported 44,183 cases nationwide with 544 deaths – a nationwide mortality rate of 1.2 percent.
According to the World Health Organization there were 372,757 cases worldwide with 16,231 confirmed deaths – a worldwide mortality rate of 4.3 percent.
What has been done locally?
On the recommendation of Emergency Operations staff, Person County buildings closed to the public effective at the closure of the Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday morning until April 6.
County operations will continue under normal operating hours.
County Manager Heidi York said the building closures are an effort to encourage citizens to work with county staff by phone or online. York said contact information for county staff will be posted on the doors of buildings.
“County operations will continue with normal working hours, it’s just the way that we’re interacting with the public will feel different for folks,” she said.
The county’s parks and walking tracks will remain open.
PATS will be limited to appointment-scheduled rides for medical appointments and employment transportation, but the Uptown shuttle will remain in operation with an additional shuttle to be added starting March 30.
The Person County Recycling Center will stop accepting recycling at noon Monday. Employees will continue work at the center.
The Person County Library will be open by appointment only. Library staff can reserve books by phone or online to be picked up curbside.
York said the policies will be given continuous consideration as circumstances change.
County commissioners also voted to cancel their scheduled meeting April 6.
The Person County Economic Development Commission was scheduled to have a special called meeting Tuesday, but the meeting was canceled.
Effective Monday, March 23, Person Memorial Hospital enacted a new visitor policy that no visitors will be allowed into the hospital until further notice.
Limited exceptions will be made for patients nearing end of life or in hospice care, one visitor for patients being discharged from the hospital and one visitor for patients for children in the emergency department only.
Patients and visitors who meet the exceptions will be screened before entering the hospital. Other exceptions to this policy must be approved by hospital administration prior to entering the facility.
Effective Wednesday, an Executive Order from Governor Roy Cooper restricted mass gatherings of 50 or more in a single room or space and forced entertainment facilities without a retail or dining component to close.
The closings apply to bingo parlors, bowling alleys, indoor exercise facilities, health clubs, indoor and outdoor pools, live performance venues, movie theaters, skating rinks, spas and gaming establishments.
Also affected are businesses that put individuals in close proximity for extended periods of time including barber shops, beauty and hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors and tattoo parlors.
Violations of the closures are punishable by a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The mandatory closures are effective through Friday, May 15.
The order also extended the closure of public school through May 15.
What should I do?
Clayton said many of the recommendations are the same: maintain social distancing and those who are sick should stay home from work and other gatherings.
Clayton said those in high risk populations should be conscious of where they are going and the associated risks.
If someone thinks they have the coronavirus, Clayton said the first step is to call their primary care physician or doctor and tell them the symptoms they are experiencing. Their physician will work with them to assess if they think the virus is a possibility.
Those with further questions can call the Person County Health Department’s coronavirus line at 336-597-2204 ext. 2278.


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