Nash County Health Director Bill Hill said there are now three county cases of people with the coronavirus, with his information being the most recent two are of people presently in hospital intensive care units outside the county.

In a video conference call with county management on Sunday afternoon, Hill said, “I believe all three of these are certainly credible cases.”

Of the second case, Hill said that was just reported overnight. Hill said the person began exhibiting symptoms sometime around March 16 and was admitted Friday for hospitalization.

Of the third case, Hill said his information is the person has been sick or has been exhibiting symptoms for approximately three to four weeks.

Hill said he does not know the actual time when the person in the third case began to suffer what one would consider to be onset of the symptoms of the coronavirus.

Hill said he considers all three cases to be separate, but he said he is certain the people in the second and third cases are in isolation at the same hospital.

Hill in a video conference call on Friday reported the first case and in a video conference call on Saturday said the person in that first case self-quarantined at that person’s home.

Hill in the video conference call on Sunday said that person remains self-quarantined, but he said that first case is still not posted in the statewide reporting system.

Hill said the only explanation he and his team can offer is the state lab may be overwhelmed as private labs are picking up speed in testing.

Hill did say he is comfortable in saying his information is the person in that first Nash County case was tested by a lab at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hill said his information is the lab report classified this as a presumptive case because the case needs to first go to the state lab.

Among other items from the video conference call on Sunday, County Emergency Management Assistant Director Brent Fisher said there has not been any spike in calls to Emergency-911 and to Emergency Medical Services as result of the coronavirus.

Fisher said the UNC School of Government has issued a statement providing guidance about how Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide order on March 10 crafted to prevent mass gatherings applies to video gaming and sweepstakes businesses should Nash County want to go that route.

In the statement, Norma Houston, who is a lecturer at the School of Government, addresses the question of whether counties and cities can restrict or prohibit the operation of “gaming establishments and gaming activities” in their jurisdictions in the midst of an emergency.

Houston said, “In my opinion, counties and cities have the legal authority to restrict or prohibit the operation of ‘gaming establishments and gaming activities’ under a lawfully declared local state of emergency.”

Nash County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robbie Davis on March 16 signed a document declaring a state of emergency in the county.

Houston said state law authorizes counties and cities to impose restrictions and prohibitions on “the operation of offices, business establishments and other places to or from which people may travel or at which they may congregate.”

Houston listed in detail the legal requirements she believes must be satisfied.

They include that the restriction or prohibition must be reasonably necessary for the preservation of order or to protect public health and safety.

Houston emphasized her statement in no way expresses an opinion about whether such restrictions should be imposed.

“That decision must be made by local officials based on their determination, with guidance from law enforcement and public health officials, of what best serves the public health and safety needs of their communities,” Houston said.

During Sunday’s video conference call, the Telegram asked about what is going to be the procedure for the continuation of the Meals on Wheels program to serve those who are elderly or who are disabled.

Assistant County Manager Stacie Shatzer said the plan, starting today on the southern routes, is to deliver sets of frozen meals to clients to help them get through this week.

Shatzer said the plan is to do the same on the rest of the routes starting the following Monday.

Shatzer also said Meals on Wheels volunteers are being informed their services are not needed at this time and said the plan is to have the aging services staff and the parks and recreation staff deliver the meals.