Davie County Government is collaborating with state and federal officials to monitor the daily development of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. On March 10, 2020, the Governor of North Carolina declared a State of Emergency in North Carolina and issued subsequent Executive Orders closing K-12 public schools, banning mass gatherings of more than 100 people, closing seating areas in restaurants thereby limiting operations to call-in and/or carryout orders, and making improvements to the unemployment system to assist those who may be impacted. On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States issued an Emergency Declaration, declaring the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude. On March 15, 2020, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned of the high public health threat for large events and mass gatherings and recommended that persons should avoid events that consist of 50 or more people. On March 16, 2020, the President of the United States issued new guidelines called the “15 Days to Slow the Spread of COVID-19, calling on people to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than ten (10) people”. On March 13, 2020, Davie County Government issued a Public Notice regarding COVID-19. Also, Davie County Government proclaimed a State of Emergency Declaration on March 16, 2020 to coordinate the county’s response and take protective actions in addressing the COVID-19 emergency, thus providing for the health, safety, and welfare of residents and visitors located in Davie County. Should further action need to be taken, the Emergency Declaration will be amended as such. Please click here for a running list of the counties that have issued local State of Emergency Declarations.
The Federal Government is currently working on a Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is bipartisan legislation that will provide resources to combat COVID-19. The bill establishes an emergency paid leave program, increases unemployment benefits, and provides food aid during the COVID-19 outbreak to assist citizens and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Employers may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is a federal program that provides temporary payments to people whose employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of the disaster. For more information please click here or call 888-737-0259. Our local Chamber of Commerce is doing a great job partnering in our COVID-19 efforts to help our local businesses. Please click here to see beginning list of restaurants and retail businesses that are operating during the COVID19 crisis, along with what services they are offering to the public. Please note this list only includes businesses who submit their status and information by clicking here. During this time, I encourage you to remember these two hashtags, #KeepDavieHealthy and #ishopdavie.
The spread of the COVID-19 should not be a surprise to us, as we have seen what has transpired in other countries, states, and now counties around us. While the general risk remains low in Davie County at this point, we should follow advice from health care experts, so fewer people will be infected or become ill. There are residents of Davie County who have been tested with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (results are pending), but at the time of this communication, there are no current confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Davie County. We are still on the upward trajectory of this disease. To see a daily update of confirmed cases in North Carolina, please click here. As of this communication, there are now 63 confirmed cases in 18 counties in North Carolina.
Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center has been actively planning a COVID-19 response aligned with the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and medical societies. In accordance with those guidelines, they have not established “drive-by” mass screenings to help preserve testing materials and personal protective equipment for the highest risk situations. Every patient who comes to clinics, urgent care locations or hospitals is screened if they are experiencing any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. At this time, the CDC does not recommend testing patients who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, so they are only testing patients and staff who meet certain criteria. They are preparing additional triage and testing locations to use when they are needed, and are making plans to expand intensive care and other services if volume increases to a critical stage. A Coronavirus website has been designed to answer as many questions as possible, and a hotline has been set up for patients to call at 336-702-6843 (336-70-COVID). For information specific to visitor restrictions and surgery reduction notices please click here.
Davie County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) Division of Public Health would like to define a few terms so that everyone has a better understanding. Screening – is the assessment to determine if a person meets criteria for testing. These are questions asked by a medical professional to determine if symptoms meet the need for a specimen collection. Collection – can occur at your PCP, Urgent Care or Hospital Emergency Department and will include a nasal swab. Testing – occurs in a lab and is not always associated with the collection site. For example, your specimen may be collected at your PCP but the testing is completed by an outside lab. Drive by Screening – typically occurs at a hospital or designated location away from a hospital. Drive by sites include screening and collection of specimens from individuals meeting criteria for testing.
People at high risk of COVID-19 include: infants; those over 65 years of age; or with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes; or with weakened immune systems. DCHHS staff members have spent numerous hours educating and consulting with school personnel, medical providers, long-term care facilities, and day cares. We are currently awaiting collection kits (tests) from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), so symptomatic residents are being directed, per the CDC guidance, to their primary care provider (PCP), emergency departments and urgent care facilities for testing. Flu has to be ruled out, and other criteria must be met as determined by the PCP, before DCHHS can determine whether testing is needed.
If a positive test is confirmed, the health department receives notification and is mandated to provide appropriate follow up for contact tracing and investigation. While waiting on collection kits from the state, DCHHS staff is now actively planning in the event state guidance changes around testing. We do not know how many persons have been tested for COVID-19 due to there being multiple sites that are not centralized at the state lab. NCDHHS is working to improve coordination of alternative screening, testing, and supportive medical care sites. We are focused on solutions to limit the contagion by reducing persons in close proximity (social distancing). Residents should practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow. These measures are most effective when implemented early, allowing us to avoid the spreading of COVID-19 present in nearby counties.
Many of us have heard all of the arguments about whether this is being overdone, and also that not enough is being done (for both opinions at all levels of government). The reality is that this has changed the way that we live and operate. History has shown us time and time again that the best leaders move before they’re forced to. Locally, we are trying to do everything we can to make you proud. Your safety is at the forefront of our every action. Therefore, doing nothing to prevent this disease is not an option. We must continue to be proactive and identify the things that we can control individually and how those decisions impact those around us. Again, we need to be realistic that it is likely a matter of when, not if, we have a positive/confirmed case in Davie County. Things are evolving daily, and we need to remain calm, focus on the facts, and avoid assumptions due to anxiety and fear about the unknown.
Below are the measures Davie County Government is taking in response to both the state and federal emergency declarations for the health and safety of our staff and the public until further notice. Please click on the hyperlinks included for more information:
· County Administration: all Davie County Government related meetings/events/trips/programs have been cancelled or postponed to avoid mass gatherings and the use of all public meeting rooms in our facilities used by non-governmental organizations and community organizations that are non-essential have been discontinued temporarily. Residents impacted by these activities continue to be notified. Davie County Government services will operate under normal business hours, but will have minimal to no public access. Face-to-face business will be assessed for appointment only for critical/essential/mandated business that cannot be done online or over the phone. Signage will be placed on all county facility doors regarding options to obtain services. Staff congregating should be minimal and individual social distancing is expected. Out-of-county work related travel for staff who provide non-emergency or non-mandated services is halted. Department directors have been given the authority to develop alternate work schedules, shifts, and/or teleworking options for employees while assuring that there are enough staff members to cover essential services. Staff should code their time appropriately to ensure emergency reimbursement for their time while assisting with COVID-19 response.
· The Davie County Government Human Resources Department will be closed to walk-ins and no new positions shall be filled until further notice. Secondary employment requests will be assessed to ensure primary coverage. Leave requests are at the discretion of each Department Director for approval to ensure that staffing levels support essential service to residents. The County may offer temporary full-time employment as needed to ensure coverage of essential services. The Employee Wellness and Acute Care Clinic will be closing temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective March 6, 2020, Davie County Government has worked with our insurance carrier to waive county staff member cost-sharing requirements and will waive 100% of medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to COVID-19, prior authorization requirements for diagnostic tests related to COVID-19 that are medically necessary and ordered by a physician consistent with the guidelines set forth by the CDC, and prior authorization requirements for covered services related to COVID-19 that are medically necessary and ordered by a physician consistent with the guidelines set forth by the CDC.
· The Davie County Sheriff’s Office will continue to respond to lifesaving emergencies, serious crimes in progress, crimes against persons, death investigations and other calls for service. Evictions will not be enforced at this time. Conceal carry permit applications can be done online. Conceal carry permits that need to be issued or renewed will still be conducted with preventive measures at the Sheriff’s Office. Jail visitation is halted, with exceptions for attorney / client privilege. All persons entering the jail will be checked for well-being before entry; if they appear sick, they must be cleared by medical personnel. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Chief District Court Judge Michael have provided guidance regarding court operations and proceedings.
· Emergency Services is continually consulting with our Medical Director and North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Service (NCOEMS) officials regarding procedures aimed at reducing exposures to our public safety staff and first responders. Messages have been sent to applicable staff and first responders regarding our screening process with the goal of decreasing exposure. Response to medical calls at long-term care facilities will only be conducted by County Emergency Medical Services. We will continue to update as we receive new information. For job essential services employees who need to continue working and cannot go home for safety precautions, we may be able to offer an alternate housing response on an as requested basis.
· Davie County Schools is working to assist with child care and feeding programs. For essential services employees who have trouble finding child care for their children, Davie County Schools is assessing the ability to provide child care options for ages 5-12. Davie County Schools also began serving meals on Tuesday, March 17th from 11AM-1PM at Cooleemee Elementary, Cornatzer Elementary, Mocksville Elementary, William R. Davie Elementary, North Davie Middle, and South Davie Middle for students needing meals. All sites are drive thru only. Parents may pull up to the designated area and a Davie County Schools employee will provide the number of meals needed. Davie County High School Hunger Fighters, Sheriff’s Office, faith based providers, and some local churches have offered to also have a plan to assist with boxed meals in the event that they may be needed for vulnerable populations.
· Senior Services & Senior Center operations will be closed to the public until further notice. Congregate Meal and Meals on Wheels participants will be served through 5 day supplies of “shelf meals” for at least the next 30 days once they are received. Since public operations for Senior Services have been stopped, staff, Sheriff Deputies, and/or volunteers will be responsible for Meals on Wheels deliveries as delivery routes were being manned by other seniors. Volunteers will be screened for health-related issues to ensure those delivering meals to the homes of our seniors are healthy.
· Public Health & Social Services have implemented home visit protocols for the protection of staff and clients, with CDC and NCDHHS recommendations being followed. When clients arrive at the Health Department for sick or well visits they are met outside and triaged by nurses. All who are sick or who are in the family of someone sick are given masks and taken directly to rooms designated for those who are sick. When appropriate, staff will call the home prior to visitation to assess for sickness in the home. If sickness is reported, and when possible, staff will conduct home visits outside. Training regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and kits containing a mask, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and disposable bags will be provided for staff members with home visitation responsibilities to use when necessary. Signage has been placed on the doors to notify individuals with symptoms consistent with Coronavirus to stop before entering the building. Appropriate phone numbers have been placed on each sign so residents with symptoms can call in to be served – or staff can go outside to assist. DCHHS staff continue to educate and consult with school personnel, medical providers, long term care facilities, and day cares. Symptomatic residents are being directed, per the CDC guidance, to their primary care provider (PCP), emergency departments and urgent care facilities for testing. If a positive test is confirmed for anyone in Davie County, the health department receives notification and is mandated to provide appropriate follow up for contact tracing and investigation. Environmental Health will continue to provide all required services, while following the recommendations and guidance from NCDHHS regarding COVID-19. Vital statistics will be handled via telephone and fax at this point. Economic Services will continue to assist those with food and medical needs (FNS and Medicaid) with added precautions. Residents should call their caseworkers and submit applications and requests via phone or online if possible. NCDHHS is assessing waivers for certain public assistance programs to be auto-renewed. More guidance is coming regarding this and households should be notified by them if this occurs. A drop box will be available (soon) outside the building to submit paper applications for those who do not have access to phones or the website, during business hours. Child Welfare continues to meet statutory obligations of home visits for Investigations/Assessments, In Home and Foster Care as required, with extra precautionary measures.
· The Davie County Center for Violence Prevention will continue to serve clients. Staff will follow proper procedure to maintain the safety of clients and employees.
· Veterans Services will continue to operate, but due to the vulnerable population determination and limited space for social distancing, veterans will be served through telephone meetings only.
· Davie County Public Utilities will waive late fees and suspend disconnection of water and sewer services through mid-April for non-payment so citizens can still practice all general hygiene and remain in a safe and heathy atmosphere. Walk-in payments, applications, and documents will not be accepted in person. Payments can be made online, by phone, or via check or cash at external drop box depositories (298 E. Depot Street).
· Permits & Inspections should be conducted via our online system or phone. Walk-in payments, applications, and documents will not be accepted in person and should be done online, or via check or cash at external drop box depositories (298 E. Depot Street). Code enforcement activities are suspended except in cases involving life and safety concerns.
· The Davie County Register of Deeds Office will offer recording of documents via e-file, mail, and through a drop-box method. Vital record requests will be processed via mail and drop-box. Please call the office to schedule notary oaths and to discuss possible options for obtaining a marriage license.
· Tax listings, real property appeals (also online), exemption applications and other tax related items should be mailed or placed in the drop box. Payments should be made online or via check or cash at external drop box depositories, as walk-in payments will not be accepted.
· The Public Library will close to the public, but will continue to provide virtual programming, electronic book service, and customer service assistance to patrons via phone. More information about virtual services offered will be posted on our website. Those with books checked out or due should not be worried about accumulating late fines and fees as they will be waived through mid-April. For those who wish to still return books, please use the outside drop box.
· Recreation & Parks has cancelled the Easter Eggstravaganza scheduled for April 4th. Athletic and General Programs have been postponed until mid-April, and facility use including rentals at the Brock Recreation Center has been halted.
· Board of Elections Office is closed to the public. Staff will be available by phone or email. A drop box will be located at the front door if anyone wishes to drop off a form in person.
· N.C. Cooperative Extension will continue to operate, but by appointment only. Please call 336-753-6100 to schedule an appointment, and visit their website for updates.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has provided the following guidance and resources for a range of issues for stakeholders including: businesses and employers, public facing agencies, child care centers, colleges and universities, community organizations, faith based organizations, events and mass gatherings, correctional facilities, first responders, health care providers, homeless shelters, schools, long-term care facilities, retail centers, transportation providers, farmers, restaurants, and assisting persons with disabilities.
As I have reflected over the past several days, I cannot think of a more fitting time to notice the “I-pledge” values that govern our Davie County Government TEAM as we continue to change everything about the way that we serve you to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of our community:
· INNOVATION-WE will apply progressive thinking, technology, creativity and adaptability to continually improve all areas of operations, resulting in a more agile and efficient organization.
· PROFESSIONALISM-WE will conduct ourselves responsively and proactively in our delivery of service to the public, characterized by the quality and diligence with which it is carried out.
· LEADERSHIP-WE will lead by example, learn from the past, provide direction for the present and plan for the future.
· EMPOWERMENT-WE will cultivate a work environment which offers employees the authority to act through supportive leadership, mutual respect, trust, personal responsibility and open communication.
· DUTY & SERVICE-WE value effective and efficient service at the individual and team level. We support each other in being capable, knowledgeable, skilled, responsible, and accountable. We foster success and improvement.
· GRATITUDE-WE embrace our role as stewards of the community’s fiscal and natural resources. We are committed to rigorous policies and procedures to assure that the public is well served with the expenditure of funds.
· EXCELLENCE-WE will achieve measurable success and continuous improvement through investment of resources, accountability and high expectations for quality.
I am so proud of our team and the partners in our community that have come together during this time of need. On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners and County Administration, thank you to our local professionals and state and federal partners, who are working tirelessly with state and federal officials in diligently managing this situation. Together, our primary focus should be on the mitigation and prevention of COVID-19 in our community.
Davie County has created a COVID-19 website for residents which has the most up-to-date information. Please click here to be directed to our COVID-19 Resource Page. We have also created a COVID-19 hotline, which is manned by Public Health Nurses at 336-753-6750. Information and updates will be provided as they become available. In the meantime, we encourage you to also follow these Davie County Government social media sites for real-time updates.