Iredell County Health Department continues to monitor the novel coronavirus situation in our area and provide updated guidance and support to our community, municipal partners and healthcare businesses in response to the pandemic. We were notified on March 18, 2020, of the second presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the County. At this time, the individual is isolating at home and willingly cooperating with public health officials. To protect the individual’s privacy, no further information will be shared. Iredell County Health Department team members are monitoring the individual during their mandatory isolation and are identifying close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain potential spread.
As we continue to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Iredell County is urging residents to follow social distancing protocols and seek alternatives for communication including phone, email, and other online resources to limit exposure to others and protect yourself as best as possible. Social distancing means the avoidance of crowded places and maintaining distances of at least six feet from other people to prevent the spread of the virus. The Governor of North Carolina has written an Executive Order that outlines mandated social distancing measures that include the ban of mass gatherings of 100 people or more in the same room or same space (auditorium stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater or any other confined indoor or outdoor space). The NC Department of Health & Human Services has recommended that residents not participate in mass gathering with greater than 50 participants while President Trump has encouraged citizens to socialize in groups of no more than ten people. Included in the Governor’s March 14, 2020 Executive Order is a minimum two-week closure of all K-12 public schools. The March 17, 2020 Executive Order closed the sitting area of restaurants and bars, limiting them to take-out or delivery only.
Even if individuals feel healthy and are not exhibiting symptoms, it is important for everyone to follow these measures to better protect themselves and their fellow residents. This is especially significant for certain populations who are at high risk for severe illness. These populations include those 65 years or older, those with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or those with weakened immune systems.
The County takes the novel coronavirus seriously and has prepared for its potential impacts for the past several months. We encourage our residents to remain calm. Please know that people who are confirmed as having COVID-19 infection are given an Isolation Order by the Health Director. Violation of this Isolation Order could result in injunctive relief or criminal penalties. Individuals identified as a close contact to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be issued a Quarantine Order by the Health Director. Penalties will ensue if the Quarantine Order is not followed.
“It is very important that we all take responsibility to protect ourselves, family, friends and the community from COVID-19 by taking the correct prevention measures.” stated Jane Hinson, Health Director.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, residents should take the same measures recommended annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses. These include:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. • Stay home when you are sick.
Individuals who suspect they might be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider to inform them about your symptoms so appropriate steps can be taken to protect yourself and others.
We recognize that the presence of novel coronavirus in our County can be stressful and concerning for all residents. Please seek out the most up-to-date and accurate information about the virus from the CDC, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) and Iredell County Health Department. During a time of heightened concern, it is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources and not from social media outlets.
At this time, novel coronavirus is currently not widespread in Iredell County and is still considered a low risk. This is an evolving situation and the County’s leadership and Health Department team are monitoring it day by day and maintaining regular communications with our local and state partners to provide residents with the most current information.
Residents with general questions can also call the NC Division of Public Health Coronavirus Call Line 24 hours a day/7 days a week: 1-866-462-3821. Nurses and pharmacists from the North Carolina Poison Control are available to answer questions.
Additional reliable information related to COVID-19 can be found at the following resources:
NC DHHS-DPH: epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/2019nCoV.html
Iredell County Health Department: https://nc-iredellcounty.civicplus.com/1383/Coronavirus-COVID-19
North Carolina Public Information Hotline: 1-866-462-3821