Nash County passed the 1,000 mark for confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday even as state and county officials were making preparations for Hurricane Isaias.
“This is something of a milestone and one I hoped we would never see,” Nash County Health Director Bill Hill said at Friday’s meeting of the Nash County COVID-19 Emergency Response Team. “This means that more than 1 percent of the population of Nash County has tested positive for COVID-19.”
As of 3 p.m. Friday, Nash County had 1,008 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19. About 50 of those cases were added on Thursday and Friday, Hill said.
Of that number, 581 people are considered recovered, 391 are isolated at home, 24 are hospitalized and 12 have died.
The Edgecombe County Health Department last released case numbers on Thursday. However, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, Edgecombe County had 564 cumulative confirmed cases as of Friday, roughly 1 percent of the population of that county. So far, 11 Edgecombe County residents have died of COVID-19.
The current pandemic will affect the way that state and county officials deal with hurricanes this season. With Hurricane Isaias poised to impact North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper already has declared a state of emergency to speed preparations along.
“Although the track and arrival of the hurricane could still change, now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare,” Cooper said. “Hurricane preparations will be different given the COVID-19 pandemic, and families need to keep that in mind as they get ready.”
Scott Rogers of Nash County Emergency Services said he is hoping Nash County likely will see gusty winds and heavy rainfall on Monday, but he hopes the effects will be light.
“The storm appears to be moving quickly, so that will help,” Rogers said. “Monday will be an interesting day, but we will be prepared.”
While Nash County may not suffer a direct impact from the storm, it often serves as a refuge for people evacuated from the coast. Normally, shelters are set up in these circumstances, but emergency officials now are looking at these as a last resort because of pandemic conditions.
State officials are urging North Carolinians to make their own preparations ahead of the storm, if possible.
“While the state is still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is urging people to make every effort to stay with family and friends, or even a hotel, as the first option. The state will coordinate shelters for those who need to evacuate, and this will be an option for those who need it,” a statement from the Governor’s Office said.
Residents and visitors seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate, the press release from the Governor’s Office said.
Conditions at these shelters may be different than in the past.
“Social distancing means fewer residents in shelters, and if needed, more facilities and volunteers to shelter the same amount of people as in previous seasons,” the release said. “Maximizing space requirements may mean not all shelters will offer cots. Be prepared to provide your own bedding and care items. Meals will be served in sealed containers and shelters will move away from serving lines or buffets to minimize the potential exposure of everyone in the shelter.”
For more information on storm preparation visit www.readync.org/.