Coronavirus

While there have been no new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Moore County over the weekend beyond the two previously reported, health officials are urging the public to be vigilant in protecting themselves to help slow the spread of the virus.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide has risen to 255, as of Sunday morning, according to the latest figures from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. No deaths have been attributed to the virus in North Carolina. More than 6,400 residents have been tested so far.

State officials have not imposed any additional restrictions or closures of businesses beyond those already in place, including the closing of bars and restaurants for dine-service. Takeout and delivery are still permitted.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday morning issued an order lifting any regulations that prevent emergency workers and food providers from finding child care during the coronavirus outbreak.

The order transfers authority to local health departments to be more flexible with mandates during the crisis, so they can prioritize the most needed services. It also lifts some restrictions so that volunteers and other caregivers may care for children and elders during the crisis.

The order also gives the Division of Motor Vehicles authority to enforce social distance, that includes allowing the agency to require appointments.

Local and state public officials continue to urge residents to adhere to social distancing and limiting interaction with others.

“The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus,” the Moore County Health Department stressed in a recent news release. “Social distancing or maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet away from others is recommended at this point on a community level to minimize or avoid any potential exposure.”

Now that the state has documented at least two cases of community spread -- meaning health officials could not pinpoint the source of the infection -- public health officials have shifted the focus from trying to contain the spread of the virus to mitigating the impacts.

“We here in Moore County are moving into the acceleration phase of the (coronavirus) pandemic,” the Health Department said in a news release Friday afternoon.

The Health Department and its public health partners will be prioritizing the county’s “most urgent needs,” which include managing cases and outbreaks in high-risk settings such as healthcare and congregate living facilities, the release said.

The Health Department has made changes in the guidelines residents are asked to follow.

People with fever and respiratory symptoms (including those with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19) should isolate themselves until meeting the following two conditions:

* At least seven days since the onset of symptoms.

* At least 72 hours have passed since symptoms have resolved – such as the absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in respiratory symptoms.

Anyone who has had close contact with a person with any respiratory illness is encouraged to stay home to the greatest extent possible and monitor themselves for respiratory symptoms.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines “close contact” as being within six feet for 10 minutes or more.

Anyone who develops emergency warning signs for respiratory illness is urged to seek medical attention immediately by calling 911, the release said. In adults, typical emergency warning signs are difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.

Residents can visit the Moore County Health Department website at

moorecountync.gov/health, for the latest information on coronavirus. It includes links to the websites for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

A coronavirus helpline is also available for those who have questions or concerns at (866) 462-3821. Residents can also call 211 for non-medical assistance and information.

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